The cold case rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl has been solved after 36 years but her accused killer isn't around to be brought to justice, a Texas TV station reported Friday.
The victim was Julie Fuller, who was found slain in Fort Worth in 1983 after her abduction from an Arlington motel.
Fort Worth police now believe the killer was James Francis McNichols thanks to genealogical testing of DNA from the crime scene, Fox 4 Dallas reported.
The DNA testing tying McNichols to the crime came 15 years after his death, the station reported.
Detective Thomas O’Brien told the station he would have preferred that McNichols was around so that he could be held responsible.
“I mean you’re talking about an 11-year-old girl who was raped and murdered. That’s not something we want to have on our books that’s not solved.”
The Arlington motel was where Julie and her family were staying after moving to North Texas from England, the station reported.
Julie disappeared as she was taking out the garbage. Her body was found the next day.
“I always kind of would beat myself up that maybe I should have been paying more attention and maybe not so into myself,” Julie’s older brother Lee Fuller told the station via a phone interview. “The fact that I allowed my little sister to just wander off like that… I mean, she was just taking out the trash.”
Fuller, who was 13 when his sister was killed, said he was glad McNichols was dead.
“Just the thought of him and my parents, especially having for them to go through that of facing the guy, I think would just be horrific,” he said.
O’Brien said McNichols was living in the Fort Worth area around the time of Julie’s murder.
He had a criminal record but was never on the FBI’s radar and his DNA was never in a database, the station reported.
“I feel very certain this case would never have been solved,” without genetic genealogy, O’Brien told the station. “Especially with him being dead, there would have been no other way to have solved this case.”