Christy Ellen Bryant, 22, was stabbed to death in July 1974 while working an early morning shift at a 7-Eleven in National City in San Diego County, FOX 5 in San Diego reported.
She had moved to San Diego in 1971 because she was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps but got out after a car crash left her injured, according to the station.
Carlin Edward Cornett, 68, was arrested at his home in Las Vegas on Sept. 14, a little more than 47 years after Bryant was killed, FOX 5 Las Vegas reported.
Holly Bryant, one of Christy's two sisters, told FOX 5 San Diego her sister was "very friendly" and "always helpful" and she said she and her sister Tari Bryant call each other every year on Christy's birthday.
"I do want him to pay for what he did and I hope his family can accept it as well," she said of Cornett.
DNA was collected at the murder scene but the technology at the time wasn’t advanced enough to analyze it and investigators ran out of leads and the case went cold.
Thirty-four years later in 2008, the blood sample was sent to the San Diego Sheriff’s Crime Laboratory for analysis and was added to the Combined DNA Index System where it was routinely cross-referenced for matches.
Over the next few years, the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Forensic Services did familial DNA searches and with the help of the National City Police Department and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office – Cold Case Homicide Unit, Cornett was eventually identified.
"We are committed to solving cold case homicides and prosecuting killers in collaboration with our law enforcement partners," San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement, according to FOX 5 Las Vegas. "Pursuing justice for families who lost their loved ones to violence is a priority for us no matter how many years have gone by. We never give up and continuously use the latest in crime scene investigation techniques to hold criminals accountable."
Cornett will face murder charges in San Diego, FOX 5 San Diego reported.