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Reports: Arrest in Fashion Writer Slaying

A trash collector faces charges in the 2002 slaying of fashion writer Christa Worthington (search), local news reports said, possibly signaling an end to a murder mystery that shook the Cape Cod community.

Prosecutors said a "significant development" in the case would be announced Friday afternoon. Unnamed sources close to the investigation told two local newspapers that Christopher M. McCowen, a trash hauler who lives in a Hyannis rooming house, was arrested on Thursday.

He was expected to be arraigned Friday in Orleans District Court.

State police on Friday refused to confirm or deny the reports. Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe and Truro Police Chief John Thomas did not immediately return calls left late Thursday night.

"The state police and all of the investigative team and the Massachusetts State Police Crime lab has worked extremely hard on the case and we're happy that this phase of the case has come to a conclusion," O'Keefe told the Cape Cod Times. He said the investigation was continuing.

Worthington, 46, was a fashion writer in New York and Paris who decided to move to Truro to raise her daughter. On Jan. 6, 2002, her body was found stabbed to death on the kitchen floor, with her 2-year-old daughter clinging to her side. Police said she may have been dead for more than 36 hours.

Worthington's body was found clad only from the waist up with a single stab wound to her chest, and it was determined she had had sex shortly before she died. DNA swabs collected from former boyfriends yielded nothing.

But a source close to the investigation told the Cape Cod Times McCowen had given police a DNA sample three months after Worthington's death, and that a match was made only last week.

Investigators took some heat when in January, after the three-year anniversary of the murder passed, they requested DNA samples from all the men in Truro. Critics accused them of implying that residents who did not volunteer might come under closer scrutiny.

Several ex-boyfriends were closely looked at early in the investigation, including Tim Arnold, who found her body, and Tony Jackett, Provincetown's shellfish constable who fathered her child.

Police never named suspects, nor did they clear anyone of the crime.

"I'm kind of happy for Tim," Jackett told the Cape Cod Times on Thursday night. "I'm very guilty for pointing the finger at him. Of course, he did the same thing with me."

The Times described McCowen as having a lengthy criminal history in Florida involving burglary, trafficking stolen property, grand theft and motor vehicle theft.

Police remained at McCowen's home Thursday night. "It's a crime scene being investigated," state Trooper Bruce Buckley told the Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.