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40-year-old San Diego cold case solved with help of genealogical database

San Diego police
Posted at 5:08 PM, Mar 21, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A 40-year-old San Diego cold case was solved with the help of a genealogical database, the San Diego Police Department said Thursday.

37-year-old Barbara Becker was murdered in her La Jolla home on March 21, 1979, police said.

According to the department, Becker’s two young boys came home from school to discover their mother’s body.

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Becker died from “numerous sharp force injuries” but, based on evidence, police say she put up a fight, injuring the suspect in the process and causing him to leave behind a trail of blood.

Detectives worked to solve the crime, but police say eventually all leads were exhausted and the case went cold.

In October of 2018, the San Diego Police Cold Case Unit and San Diego County’s District Attorney’s Office reached out to the FBI’s genealogy team for help solving the case.

Police say the team was able to identify a possible suspect using the public-access genealogical database as well as several family members of the suspect.

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After family gave DNA samples to investigators, Paul Jean Chartrand was identified as the source of blood from the crime scene.

Members of Chartrand’s family told investigators that he lived in the San Diego area at the time of Becker’s murder. Investigators also learned that Chartrand died in Arizona in 1995.

“The entire investigative team is grateful the case has been solved however, it is tempered by the fact it took forty years to give Barbara Becker’s family the answers they deserved and that Chartrand was able to avoid justice for 16 years after Barbara Becker’s murder,” the San Diego Police Department said in a statement.