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Drop of blood leads to arrest of N.Y. man accused of killing former in-laws more than 30 years ago

Michael Anthony Louise was charged in connection to the 1989 deaths of George and Catherine Peacock.

A drop of blood led to the arrest of a New York man who is suspected of killing his former in-laws more than 30 years ago.

Michael Anthony Louise, 79, was taken into custody Thursday at his home in Syracuse on an arrest warrant for two counts of second-degree murder.

Catherine and George Peacock
Catherine and George Peacock.Vermont State Police

He is accused of killing George Peacock, 76, and Catherine Peacock, 73, at their Danby, Vermont, home on Sept. 17, 1989, Vermont State Police announced in a news release. The couple had been stabbed multiple times. Their bodies were discovered by a neighbor, police said.

There were no signs of forced entry into the house and no important items had been removed, according to authorities. Louise, who was married to one of the Peacock's daughters, had been identified as a potential suspect about two weeks after the killings but investigators could not "establish a conclusive link" tying him to the crime, the release states.

The killings went unsolved until, in May 2020, forensic testing "confirmed a DNA match to George Peacock in a spot of blood found inside Louise’s car in October 1989," police said.

"The blood sample had been tested previously during the investigation, as DNA testing technology was emerging, and that earlier test had been inconclusive," police said in the release.

Louise is being held at the Onondaga County Justice Center until he is extradited to Vermont. It's not clear if he has obtained an attorney.

Advancements in DNA testing have been used to help law enforcement solve a slew of cold cases. Last month, a Missouri inmate serving a life sentence for killing a man was linked to the deaths of four women who vanished in 1990 and 1991 after crime lab technicians found DNA from a small amount of viable evidence that had been collected.

The suspect, Gary Muehlberg, 73, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection to the deaths of  Robyn Mihan, Brenda Pruitt, Donna Reitmeyer and Sandra Little.

In Pennsylvania, authorities were also able to crack the 1988 strangulation death of a mother after breakthrough genetic genealogy technology linked DNA from the victim's clothing to a saliva-sealed anonymous letter that was written to a local newspaper about two years after the killing. The DNA matched a man named Scott Grim, however, he died in 2018 of natural causes at age 58.