New technology could help solve decades-old Tempe murder case

Posted at 6:20 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-05 08:05:21-04

A new technology could be responsible with helping solve a decades-old unsolved murder in Tempe.

On Aug. 7, 1997, 21-year-old Fiona Yu was killed inside her apartment near Apache Boulevard and Dorsey Lane. According to investigators, Yu was sexually assaulted and strangled to death by the suspect before he fled the area.

Investigators are working with Paragon NanoLabs, which specializes in DNA phenotyping, or a process of predicting physical appearance based on DNA evidence.

Using the DNA evidence from the 20-year-old investigation, authorities were able to predict physical traits of the suspect, including eye color, hair color, skin color and face shape.

At the time of the crime, the man was believed to have looked 25 years old with a body mass index of 22. 

A composite sketch was also created to see what the suspect would like today.

He’s believed to be 45 years old, Hispanic with light brown skin, brown eyes and black hair.

Around the time of Yu’s death, authorities were investigating another sexual assault that happened in the same area. Officials believe the crimes may have been committed by the same person.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Tempe Police Department or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.