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COLD CASE: GJPD solves 45-year-old homicide case involving Deborah Tomlinson

Photo of Deborah Tomlinson
Photo of Deborah Tomlinson(Credit: Grand Junction Police Department)
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 4:04 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - After 45 years, a suspect has finally been named in the killing of 19-year-old Deborah Tomlinson.

Back in 1975, Tomlinson was found dead in an apartment unit in the 1000 block of Belford Ave after being bound, sexually assaulted, and strangled. Up until now, there had been no suspect named in the case.

Thanks to new DNA technology, the Grand Junction Police Department (GJPD) was able to identify Jimmy Dean Duncan as the suspect in the case. At the time of Tomlinson’s death, Duncan was 26, however, detectives learned through the investigation that he had passed away in 1987.

The case was reopened by GJPD Detectives in 2019, and just this year they sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia. Through evidence found in the newly opened investigation, Duncan came up as a possible suspect. Detectives then acquired a buccal swab from one of Duncan’s known relatives and submitted the sample for comparison with the original DNA evidence that was found at the crime scene.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed that the newly acquired DNA profile positively identified Duncan using the parameters set by Parabon’s DNA Analysis Service. After the match was confirmed, the GJPD alerted Tomlinson’s family of the findings.

“Cold cases are never truly closed. Solving these types of cases is very important to our detectives and our agency, and while not every case is solved, we are proud of the hard work put forth by those who helped provide answers to the victim’s family and our community in as many cases as is possible.”

Grand Junction Police Chief Doug Shoemaker

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