The apprehension of Thomas Lewis Garner, 59, on Wednesday came more than 30 years after Pamela Cahanes’ body was found in the side yard of a Sanford, Fla., home in August 1984, a news release from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said.
Cahanes, who was 25 years old at the time, was discovered “on her knees” and “only wearing her underwear,” Sheriff Dennis Lemma said, according to Fox 35.
“Using genetic genealogy research, investigators were able to develop a DNA family tree that eventually matched the suspect to DNA found on the victim,” authorities said in the news release.
The suspect had attended the Orlando Naval Training Center with Cahanes, the department said.
Garner was taken into custody at his home and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility, according to the news release. He was charged with first-degree premeditated murder and held without bond, according to the arrest report provided by the sheriff’s office.
“Quite literally, he was probably under the belief that he’s getting away with murder,” Lemma said.
The sheriff praised authorities in the news release for their “persistence” in the case.
“Our hearts go out to Pamela Cahanes’ family members who have been steadfast in their search for justice,” Lemma said.