Crime Trackers: Marana PD solves 28 year cold-case - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: Marana PD solves 28 year cold-case

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MARANA- A 28-year-old cold-case has been solved thanks to persistent police work, a family that never gave up and amazing forensics.

Part of that incredible forensic work was facial reconstruction done by the FBI. Agents started working on it five years ago, when the case was reopened.

Back then, the victim was called "Jane Doe."

Her actual name is Deanna Lee Criswell. She's was just 16 years old when she was murdered.

Police said she had been shot five times.

Tom Mooney is the crime scene unit supervisor. He's responsible for bringing the cold-case to light. 

“I'm glad the family knows what happened to their daughter,” said Mooney.

Janice Moser a criminal analyst for Marana police department put the timeline together . 

“In 2011 we received a partial DNA match to William Ross Knight,” said Moser.

In a phone interview from Florida, Ellen Criswell talked about their quest to find their niece, even though they had been estranged from the family for some time.

“My husband said we have to find her and so he took to the internet,” she said.

They searched for a year thinking she was still alive, when they exhausted their options they began to search for unidentified bodies. 

“We got a tip that she had a bus ticket to Arizona,” said Criswell.

Investigators said William Ross Knight sent that ticket to her. They also found Knight's DNA at the crime scene. 

The two met in Spokane, Wash. Knight had been on a violent crime spree that landed him serving a life sentence in prison for armed robbery. 

Investigators said he shot and killed the teenager during his crime spree. He died of liver disease in 2005.

Donald Criswell became obsessed with finding his niece . They have two daughters of their own and said they're very protective of them. 

“We couldn't imagine parents not knowing all this time what happened to their child,” said Ellen Criswell.

Time was also running out for Deanna's mother. She has stage 4 cancer and is currently hospitalized. 

“We thought would be very important for her to have some closure before she died,” she said.

Just five weeks ago, the Criswells came across the reconstruction photo on the internet, including a number for Marana police. 

“We contacted them and told them that we could identify her cause we felt certain it was her,” said Criswell.

She had advice for parents, “Tell your children you love them every day, let them know they are loved.”

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