S.C. police say new DNA testing cracked 1976 cold murder case

Prison cells. File Photo by Falco/Pixabay/UPI

Oct. 23 (UPI) — Police in South Carolina believe they have finally found the man who raped and killed a woman more than four decades ago, thanks to advances in DNA testing.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Charles Ugvine Coleman was arrested and charged Thursday in the 1976 killing of Elizabeth Ann Howell Wilson.

Investigators said they were led to Coleman through a new analysis of the 44-year-old forensic evidence.

Coleman, 65, now faces charges of rape and murder, SLED Chief Mark Keel said.

Wilson, 45, disappeared on March 20, 1976, while working as a spinner at a textile plant in Chester, S.C. Her body and stolen vehicle were found a short time later in Fairfield County, and police said she’d been sexually assaulted, strangled and beaten.

Authorities unsuccessfully spent decades working the cold case, but say they finally got a breakthrough with the help of recent advancements in DNA forensics that pointed to Coleman.

“Our agents and forensics experts work hard and are dedicated to bringing justice to those who commit crimes against our citizens,” Keel said.

“Whether the crime was recent or happened more than 40 years ago, we will not stop in trying to solve the case. I appreciate the teamwork showed by everyone in helping bring closure to the Wilson family.”


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