A 77-year-old Nevada man was in custody Wednesday after authorities in Hawaii accused him of fatally stabbing a woman in her Honolulu apartment five decades ago, court and jail records show.
Tudor Chirila Jr. was accused of second-degree murder in the Jan. 7, 1972, slaying of Nancy Anderson, 19, according to an arrest warrant issued Monday by a Honolulu district court judge.
Chirila, of Reno, was in custody at the Washoe County Detention Facility after he survived a suicide attempt Sept. 8, two days after authorities collected a DNA sample from him to compare with genetic material from the crime scene, according to the jail and court records.
Authorities identified Chirila, a former graduate assistant at the University of Hawaii, after investigators spent years following dead-end leads and interviewing people of interest.
Among them were two knife salesmen who visited Anderson's apartment the day she was found dead, according to a Honolulu detective's affidavit included with the warrant.
Anderson was a McDonald's employee who graduated from a Michigan high school two years before her death, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Friends and co-workers interviewed by authorities after her death described her as happy and friendly.
Anderson's roommate found her body on the afternoon of Jan. 7, minutes after she awoke from a nap, according to the affidavit. The roommate discovered Anderson on the floor, covered in blood.
A medical examiner later found that Anderson had 63 stab wounds, according to the affidavit.
Detectives interviewed the knife salesmen, who stopped by Anderson's apartment Jan. 7 after meeting her that day in Waikiki. After a sales pitch, Anderson and her roommate declined their wares, and the salesmen left her with a pie cutter as a gift, the affidavit says.
The salesmen provided alibis and fingerprints that were compared to prints from the scene, according to the affidavit. Detectives confirmed that the pair's whereabouts ruled them out as potential suspects, the affidavit says.
Other men whose names were offered by tipsters or were known to have been friendly with Anderson were also ruled out as possible suspects, according to the affidavit.
The case went cold for decades, and it remained unsolved even after a detective gave the investigation a fresh look in the early 2000s with DNA samples obtained from Anderson's bedspread, a slipper and towels, including one found beside her body, the affidavit says.
Last December, authorities were given a tip that Chirila might be a suspect, according to the affidavit.
The document does not say where the tip came from. The Honolulu Police Department has previously said it sought the help of Parabon NanoLabs, a firm that uses traditional genealogical research and DNA analysis to help authorities crack cold cases.
In April, Chirila's son, who lives in Newport Beach, California, volunteered a DNA sample to authorities, according to the warrant. An analysis found that his DNA was strongly correlated with the genetic material recovered from the towel found next to Anderson.
Four months later, authorities obtained a DNA sample from Tudor Chirila and found that it matched the sample taken from the towel, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit does o’t identify a possible motive or offer details about how Chirila might have known Anderson or gained access to her apartment. He was not among the potential suspects investigated in the 1970s or the early 2000s.
A Honolulu police spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Chirila's son also did not respond to a request for comment. It was not clear whether Chirila has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.