FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — On June 27, 1983, 11-year-old Julie Fuller disappeared from the Kensington Motel in Arlington after taking out the trash. She was found raped and murdered in Fort Worth the following day. Her killer had never been found — until now, 36 years later.
Decades after investigating the cold case, Fort Worth police were able to get DNA evidence into the database CODIS, but with no matches.
It has been a relentless effort by not only the department, but by Fuller’s brother, Lee Fuller.
“It’s that mixed emotion,” Lee said. “You can’t say you’re happy, but it’s good to get some kind of closure.”
He and his family immigrated from the U.K. to start a new life in Texas.
“I was probably sitting there watching TV or something worthless like that, and then my sister just happened to take out the trash and then never came back,” he said. “The whole thing is so surreal and you can’t really properly process it.”
In February 2018, homicide detectives then reached out to Parabon Nanolabs and obtained a DNA phenotyping report — a tool used to predict a suspect’s physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence.
A year and a half later, on Dec. 13, Fort Worth police said they have identified Fuller’s killer as James McNichols, who died in 2004 at 52 while living in Iowa.
“I’m really just in shock and awe [at] the fact that after nearly 40 years they managed to get to who actually did this,” Lee said.