There is a break in the 1993 murder of Aleszandra Ariel “Alie” Berrelez (Jan 2, 1988 – May 18, 1993). From the Denver Post:
“Investigators taking a new look at the unsolved 1993 kidnapping and murder Alie Berrelez (5) matched a DNA sample to a long dead suspect in the case — ending a saga for the little girl’s family.
Nicholas Randolph Stofer was a focus of the investigation as far back as February 1994, but prosecutors never felt enough evidence existed to file charges and his DNA had not previously been matched to evidence in the case. Stofer died of a drug overdose in 2001.
Alie Berrelez was kidnapped from her apartment complex where she was sitting eating pizza with other children in the parking lot, in Englewood on May 18, 1993. Following a massive search by police and fire workers and volunteers, and the use of scent-tracking dogs, the little girl was found four days later in a canvas bag near a creek 14 miles away from her home.
Stofer had been the primary suspect in the crime since it occurred, but police did not mount a case against him because of a lack of evidence, according to Englewood Police Chief John Collins. Police said that the only evidence they had against Stofer was circumstantial, including the testimony of Berrelez’s 3-year-old brother who may have witnessed the kidnapping.
Collins said that advancements in DNA technology had finally allowed authorities to confirm the match. “Over time, DNA analysis has advanced,” said Katie Featherston, forensic scientist at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. “In 1993 it was not available at the CBI lab, but over time we have been able to deal with samples that are smaller and smaller, and/or less pristine. Those advances allowed us to do the DNA analysis on this case.” More here.