DELRAY BEACH, Florida (AP) – A man who had long been considered a person of interest in the murder of a 21-year-old South Florida woman has been arrested after 38 years, officials said.
Ralph Williams, 59, was arrested Monday in Jacksonville and charged with the death of Carla Lowe, whose battered body was found Nov. 13, 1983, at a roadside, Delray Beach police said Tuesday.
Lowe was last seen waiting for a train at an Amtrak station in Delray Beach, South Florida SunSentinel reported.
Detectives said they searched the area for hours but never found anyone who had seen or heard anything suspicious.
The same day her body was found, Delray Beach police arrested Williams on charges of major car thefts and burglaries, records show.
Williams’ criminal record shows more than 20 arrests across Florida, including burglary charges; resist an officer with violence; robbery with a gun or a deadly weapon; sale, manufacture or supply of heroin and marijuana; and possession of burglary tools.
An attorney for Williams was not listed in the court records.
Lowe’s sister told the newspaper the family is “forever in debt” to Lieutenant Mark Woods and Detective Todd Clancy for bringing them some closure.
“I played this in my head a thousand times,” Jackie Lowe-Repass said. “I never thought this day would come. There is now a name of who did this to my sister.”
Clancy said over the years there was never enough evidence of a probable cause to arrest Williams in connection with Carla Lowe’s death. But new technology from a company based in the United Kingdom later made it possible for them to identify Williams’ fingerprints on evidence on the spot, Sgt. said Luis Skeberis. He did not elaborate.