SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office says genealogy research helped lead them to the man they believe is responsible for the 1984 murder of Navy recruit Pamela Cahanes.
Thomas Garner was arrested at his home on Dunn Avenue in Jacksonville. He has since been taken to Seminole County and booked in to jail for first-degree murder.
The body of 25-year-old Pamela Cahanes was found in August 1984 outside of a vacant house in Sanford. Investigators say she had been beaten and strangled. Cahanes was an Orlando Navy recruit, so the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Florida Department of Law Enforcement aided in the investigation.
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The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office says genealogy research helped investigators develop a DNA family tree, which eventually matched Garner to DNA found on the victim. Garner was a classmate of Cahanes at the Orlando Naval Training Center.
Investigators say Cahanes had been seen shopping at a few locations on the day before her body was found, and was seen in a couple of locations that night with a man. The Sheriff’s Office says it appears she was killed after 1 a.m. on August 5, 1984. She was found badly beaten and partially clothed, with her clothes nearby. Also close to her were bags that appear to correlate to her shopping the prior day.
Her cause of death was strangulation. Investigators believe she was killed somewhere else and then dumped outside of the home.
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