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Richmond police solve 1999 murder of Meekiah Wadley by searching family DNA

RICHMOND, California – Investigators have solved the 1999 murder of a 28-year-old woman through the use of California’s familial DNA search program, authorities announced Thursday at a conference call. press conference with objections from the woman’s family.

Richmond police say Jerry Lee Henderson killed Meekiah Wadley at her home in January 1999, but could not bring him to trial because he died of a suspected drug overdose 11 days after she passed. life.

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Diana Becton, Contra Costa district attorney, who attended Thursday’s news conference by State Attorney General Rob Bonta and Wadley’s grieving family members.

DNA collected during a crime has never had a direct effect in the DNA crime database. But in October 2020, investigators asked the state to conduct a search of the family.

Bonta declined to specify who had the DNA leading to Henderson, but said investigators were working to rule out other possibilities. That search resulted in a hit, meaning DNA from the crime scene matched a parent, sibling, or child whose profile was already in the crime database.

Richmond Acting Sheriff Louie Tirona initially did not want to name Henderson. But he was amused by the disapproval of Wadley’s family, who said the killer’s family still considered him a good person.

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Quila Wadley said on Thursday that Henderson and her sister met through a mutual friend that they both share at home sometimes. When the friend wouldn’t allow Henderson to stay, Henderson went to Wadley’s house, thinking she was going to disappear.

But that night she came home and was startled to find him there. They struggled and she died of asphyxiation, Quila Wadley said.

Wadley’s family said they were grateful that police were stuck on the case. Quila Wadley says she is tired of being abused.

“I don’t know what the solution is, but someone needs to come up with it. Because we’re dying too young,” she said.

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https://abc7news.com/richmond-cold-case-1999-murder-meekiah-wadley-jerry-lee-henderson/11777592/ Richmond police solve 1999 murder of Meekiah Wadley by searching family DNA

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