Sister of Colorado Springs cold case victim “very excited” about new DNA-based composite photo of suspect

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — New details are coming to light in a nearly 30-year-old cold case in Colorado Springs.

On June 5, 1988, Mary Lynn Renkel-Vialpando was brutally murdered in Old Colorado City. Since then, police have been searching for her killer.

On Monday, police released a composite photo of what the suspect may have looked like at the time.

DNA was collected at the scene where Renkel-Vialpando’s body was found. Police recently sought the help of a DNA technology company that was able to take the evidence and come up with predictions about the suspect’s physical appearance and ancestry.

Over the years, FOX21 has been in touch with Mary Lynn’s family. In 2013, they remained hopeful about DNA evidence being entered into a national database.

We caught up with Mary Lynn’s sister, Cynthia Renkel, about what this newest development means.

“You know, I’m a tad angry because I am quite sure that there are people in Colorado Springs who know who committed this crime, and for whatever reasons–fear, disinterest, whatever–they haven’t come forward,” Renkel said.

Renkel-Vialpando was 24 years old when she was killed. She was found in an alley off Colorado Avenue near 26th Street. She had been raped, stabbed, and beaten to death.

Several persons of interest have named in the case, but no leads have been strong enough to make an arrest.

“It has been unbearably sad for me, my whole family, her daughter. Like I said, she never even got to know her grandchildren,” said Renkel.

In 1988, forensic DNA analysis was very new. At the time, they knew nothing about the killer–no nationality, no hair or eye color, nothing.

“I’m very excited,” Renkel said. “This technology is, my goodness, it’s so advanced.”

It’s been nearly three decades, and Renkel said not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of her.

Renkel still wants justice, and with this new composite, she said they’re one step closer.

“I’m just hoping, hoping, hoping that this will bring about some information to help solve this case,” Renkel said. “Please, if you have any information, please come forward, please tell the police.”

Police said the composite photo is just predictions based on DNA, and it’s not likely that it looks exactly like the suspect.

Anyone who knows anything about Renkel-Vialpando’s murder is asked to call police at 719-444-7000.

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