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Has world's oldest cold case been solved: Rape and murder case of 16-year-old girl scout Margaret 'Peggy' Beck which was reopened 57 years after her death leads detectives to suspect aged 80 traced through a DNA database

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 1/05/2020 Milly Vincent For Mailonline

A 57-year-old rape and murder case is close to being resolved after DNA evidence led police to issue an arrest warrant for an 80-year-old suspect, when members of his family appeared as a genetic match in an online consumer database.

Margaret 'Peggy' Beck was raped and killed at the age of 16 while at a Girl Scout Camp in Jefferson County, Colorado, U.S., in 1963. 

Police are seeking James Raymond Taylor, who would now be 80-years-old if he is still alive, on suspicion of rape and murder at Flying G Ranch all those years ago, reports KDVR.

Using genetic material preserved from the scene of the crime scientists were able to profile the suspect's DNA in 2007 and again in 2019.

a cat wearing a collared shirt: Police are seeking James Raymond Taylor (pictured in 1961), now 80 years old if surviving, on suspicion of rape and murder at Flying G Ranch all those years ago © Provided by Daily Mail Police are seeking James Raymond Taylor (pictured in 1961), now 80 years old if surviving, on suspicion of rape and murder at Flying G Ranch all those years ago

These DNA profiles then led detectives to members of the suspect's family, whose DNA appeared as a match in online consumer databases -  which contain genetic information gathered from home ancestry and DNA testing kits among other sources. 

The case is now the oldest believed to have identified a suspect through by genetic genealogy. 

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said in statement: 'Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to actually put the handcuffs on James Taylor.'  

Investigators were aided by Mitch Morrissey, former Denver District Attorney, who works for the U.S. genetic database, United Data Connect.

If justice is done, Mr Morrissey said: 'Nowhere in the world have they solved a case this old with genetic genealogy' 

Sheriff's investigator Elias Alberti stated that although James Taylor has now been identified they have not yet been able to find him and do not know if he is alive. 

The last evidence of Mr Taylor's existence was a sighting in Las Vegas in 1976, he has an extensive rap sheet of offenses in Las Vegas dating back to the early 1970's. 

an old photo of a person: Margaret 'Peggy' Beck was raped and killed at the age of 16 while at a Girl Scout Camp in Jefferson County, Colorado, U.S., in 1963 © Provided by Daily Mail Margaret 'Peggy' Beck was raped and killed at the age of 16 while at a Girl Scout Camp in Jefferson County, Colorado, U.S., in 1963

Investigators believe he also lived in Edgewater, New Jersey, in the 1960s and was married working as a TV repairman at the time of the murder, reports Denver Post.

Mr Alberti told the publication that he believed Mr Taylor may have known about the Girl Scouts camping at the ranch because he built HAM radios in the area, which he visited to test.

No suspect was identified at the time of the murder, with no witnesses. 

Mr Morrissey said that the night of the attack Margaret's tent mate had fallen ill and was at the infirmary, leaving her alone in the tent.

Mr Alberti added: 'There were marks on her [Margaret's] neck and there were signs of a sexual assault that had occurred.'  

Miss Beck was the eldest of four sisters. Her three sisters are all alive with Sheriff Shrader calling this search for justice a 'painful time' for them after years of heartbreak.    

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