DNA match leads police to suspect 31 years after murder

HEMET – Just weeks after authorities matched his DNA to the crime scene, Homeland, Calif., resident Shelby Shamblin pleaded not guilty Monday to the 31-year-old strangulation and murder of a 67-year-old woman.
On Jan. 27, police linked Shamblin, who was 17 at the time of Elizabeth Crossman’s death, to a semen sample from the crime scene. Shamblin’s DNA was taken after he was arrested in October on various drug charges.
Shamblin was never arrested in the 1980 case, although at the time he was interviewed by authorities, who considered him a person of interest. On Jan. 17, 1980, Elizabeth’s husband Frank returned home from work to find his wife dead in their bedroom. Their home was located at 2093 Florida Ave., which was directly behind their business, Crossman RV.
“After three decades of advances in DNA technology, we were able to identify the suspect,” Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown said Thursday.
Hemet Captain Rob Webb added, “The process of extracting DNA from evidence is very long and tedious … It’s not like on TV where we wave our magic wand and then stare at a computer screen for instant results.”
Police said the initial investigation, which included every detective Hemet PD had available at the time, lasted for about one year before all leads were exhausted.
In 2002, detectives submitted evidence from the 1980 case for analysis. In 1980, Shamblin occasionally worked odd jobs at both the Crossman’s business and home, police said.
Between the crime and Shamblin’s arrest, Frank Crossman died in 1992, one of Elizabeth’s two daughters died, and the case’s original lead detectives, Bob Taylor, died in 2008. “This case is impressive considering the investigating officers gathered evidence at the scene that had little forensic value 31 years ago,” Brown said.

DNA match leads police to suspect 31 years after murder was last modified: July 18th, 2012 by admin
Categories: California, Riverside

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Lee Brown

Obrey "Lee" Brown has worked for 10 newspapers and magazines in the Bay Area, central and southern California. In 2005, he wrote "A Citrus Test: Football in Black & White." He can be reached at baseballOLB@hotmail.com.