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Livingston County hopes DNA testing will help close '83 murder case

Published: Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 9:42 a.m. CST

(MCT) — PONTIAC — Livingston County Sheriff Marty Meredith is hoping to use the services of a new crime lab to help find new information on a case nearly 30 years old.

About a year ago, the double-homicide case of Robert and Marcia Edwards was reopened. The couple was found shot to death on Jan. 21, 1983, in their home near Pontiac. Their adopted son, Joseph Sinnot Edwards, was indicted by a Livingston County grand jury on murder charges, but he vanished after the killings and is still unaccounted for.

In 1984, a federal warrant was issued, charging him with unlawful interstate flight to avoid prosecution. Edwards was 18 at the time of the deaths and would be 46 years old now.

Meredith said Thursday he is asking for $20,000 to work with the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Lab in Vernon Hills, a lab that previously performed tests on evidence in the case. If the request is approved by the County Board next week, the sheriff said he would send more than 40 items of evidence collected at the scene for processing.

DNA testing was not available at the time of the killings.

The case has been featured twice on Fox Television Network’s “America’s Most Wanted,” most recently in 1998.

Investigators hope a DNA trail will lead them to Edwards.

Meredith said he has confidence in the state crime lab but cold cases are not a priority for the state facility that could take more than a year to return DNA results in the case. The Livingston County Board’s sheriff’s committee approved a similar request in it October, but it never was taken before the full board.

“This case needs to be worked from today’s standards. We will submit the items and see where the evidence leads,” said Meredith.

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