On Christmas Eve in 1977, Alma Jones was raped and murdered on Sawyer Road in South Raleigh. The case went cold, and the identity of Jones’s killer remained unknown until this week. 

The Raleigh Police Department announced the 45-year old cold case has been solved Wednesday using DNA evidence. 

“With the advancement of DNA technology and the diligent and extensive follow-up work performed by RPD detectives, Paul Crowder was identified as a suspect,” RPD announced via Twitter. “A saliva sample from Crowder’s family member confirmed that he was the person responsible for Jones’ murder.”

Crowder, who was 35 at the time of the murder according to the News & Observer, died in 2015. Crowder lived in the same neighborhood as Jones, who was 77 at the time. 

Evidence from the case had been collecting dust RPD before being rediscovered in 2011, the N&O reported. How Crowder became a suspect in the case, however, is unclear. 

The case is now considered “exceptionally cleared”—resolved due to outstanding circumstances—due to Crowder’s death. 

“While we recognize that this conclusion will not ease the pain and loss the family has experienced, we are pleased that they finally have resolution to something they have lived with for a long time,” Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson told the N&O. 

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Follow Senior Staff Writer Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.com.