Snohomish County detectives make arrest in 1972 murder of Jody Loomis

EVERETT, Wash. -- Detectives in Snohomish County are holding a news conference Thursday to announce an made in connection to the 1972 murder of Jody Loomis.

The arrest in the cold case comes more than 46 years after Loomis was found raped, shot and near-death in what was at the time a heavily wooded area near what is now Mill Creek Road, east of the intersection of Bothell-Everett Hwy and 164th Street SW.

Detectives said 20-year-old Loomis was riding her white 10-speed bike to get to a stable where she kept her horse. The couple who found her tried to get her to the hospital, but she died on the way there.

Photo of the suspect believed to have been taken around the time of Jody Loomis’ murder. (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)

Seventy-seven-year-old Terrence Miller,  who was identified as a suspect through genetic genealogy, was arrested at his home around 10:30 a.m. without incident. He has been charged with 1st degree premeditated murder and is being held in the Snohomish County jail on $1 million bail, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives believe Miller was living in the Edmonds area at the time of the murder, about five miles from where Loomis’ body was found.

“After more than 46 years of searching for her killer, we finally have some answers for Jody’s family,” said Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary. “Thanks to the relentless persistence of our cold case team and new DNA technology, we are one step closer to justice for Jody.”

Genetic genealogy is the use of DNA testing in combination with traditional genealogical methods to establish the relationship between a person and their ancestors.  This is the second arrest in a Snohomish County cold homicide case using results from genetic genealogy.

Detectives identified Miller with help from Parabon NanoLabs and genetic genealogist Deb Stone.

Investigators uploaded a digital file with DNA evidence to GEDmatch, a public genetic genealogy website. That led to promising matches for a few of Miller's relatives, according to the sheriff's office.

After the genealogist identified parents of possible suspects based on the family tree, police acquired an abandoned DNA sample from a cup one suspect had used. Washington State Patrol’s crime lab confirmed that it positively matched the DNA profile from the crime scene evidence.

Detectives continue to gather and process evidence and interview witnesses related to the investigation of Loomis’ murder and are asking for people to come forward with information, specifically anyone who knows of firearms that Miller owned in 1972, where he worked, what vehicles he drove then and if he was ever in possession of a bridle for a horse.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office tip line 425-388-3845.

The press conference is at 9 a.m. Thursday. You can watch it live here.

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