HONOLULU (KHON) – A DNA comparison has led to an arrest in a cold murder case in Hawaii that dates back decades.
Honolulu police investigated after Nancy Elaine Anderson was found slain in her Waikiki apartment in January 1972.
There were no witnesses. Anderson’s roommate, who was asleep in another bedroom, as well as neighbors, reported that they did not hear or see anything suspicious.
Anderson’s body was found after her roommate, believing Anderson had left for work already, heard water running in Anderson’s bathroom. She pushed the already ajar bedroom door open and discovered Anderson’s body on the floor.
According to police records, Anderson had stab wounds on her chest and there was blood in the bathroom, on the bed and on the floor on which she was found. There were also a number of bloodied towels in the apartment.
Police interviewed more than a dozen people but the investigation went cold after no viable leads were found.
Her brother said in 2019 that the family wanted answers, not revenge.
The Honolulu Police Department renewed its plead for information in 2020 after enlisting Parabon Nano Labs to assist with a DNA comparison.
“So we’re not looking so much for any kind of retribution or anything, we just simply want as much closure as closure can possibly give,” said Jack Anderson.
Police then worked with DNA technology company Parabon Nanolabs to create a sketch of a possible suspect.
Traditional forensic analysis looks at things like fingerprints and compares them with a national database of people already in the system — but this technology goes beyond that.
“The snapshot actually generates new information from that DNA, tells us more about that person, things that the police couldn’t have known before,” said Dr. Ellen Greytak, Parabon Nanolabs Snapshot Advance DNA Analysis Division director.
Honolulu police tracked down Tudor Chirila, Jr. — now 77 years old — and worked with police in Nevada and California to obtain a DNA sample from Chirila’s son in April 2022. According to officials, the sample linked blood that was found at the Anderson scene to his father.
A murder charge was officially filed against Chirila in Honolulu and he was arrested by police in Reno on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
A forensic DNA lecturer at Chaminade University said using a child can help skirt national and state databases of DNA, which only come back with a result if the person has previously been arrested or convicted.
“If the son is giving up a DNA profile, the son would inherit what they call a Y-STR profile and he would have the same Y-STR profile as his father, so that’s probably how they matched them up,” said Kari Inda, Chaminade University forensic DNA lecturer.
“So it’s really hard to say what are the chances of someone getting caught, but it’s definitely a lot more than in the 1970s,” Inda said.
Honolulu police said on Tuesday that Chirila’s extradition to Hawaii is pending.