Arrest made in 1988 cold case out of St. Joseph County, Michigan

Robert Odell Waters Cathy Sue Swartz. Photo: Western Michigan University
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Mich. - Officials arrested a man in connection with a cold case out of St. Joseph County, Michigan, 35 years after the murder.

Police charged Robert Odell Waters with the murder of Cathy Sue Swartz on December 2, 1988.

Swartz, who was 19 years old at the time, was attacked inside her apartment while her nine-month-old daughter was in the next room, according to Three Rivers Police.

Advancements in DNA technology in the 2000s allowed police to enter DNA found at the crime scene into a national database. Though no matches came from it, further advancements eventually led police to the DNA's owner.

In 2022, police used forensic genealogy to narrow down the suspect pool to a single family. Each family member was tested until Waters was identified as the suspect.

He was arrested in South Carolina on Sunday and will be extradited back to St. Joseph County.

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