VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Authorities in Virginia Beach hope new technology can help them finally close a decades-old cold case homicide.

The Virginian-Pilot says investigators believe a type of DNA testing called phenotyping could feasibly help them catch the killer of Roberta Walls. She was 22 in 1986 when her battered body was found behind a school.

The newspaper says a Reston lab has recently created two composite sketches of a “person of interest” using DNA phenotyping. The technology uses genetic material to predict the physical appearance and ancestry of an unknown individual.

Police have released composite sketches showing a man with brownish hair, either blue or green eyes, and freckling.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.