A 69-year-old Las Vegas man was arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 22-year-old convenience store clerk almost 50 years ago, police said on Thursday.
Carlin Edward Cornett was arrested at his home, accused of killing 22-year-old Christy Ellen Bryant in 1974, according to National City Police.
On July 31, 1974, Bryant was working a solo shift at a 7-Eleven location in National City, near San Diego, when she was stabbed to death, police said in a news release.
She had originally moved to San Diego in 1971 when she was working as a member of the United States Marine Corps, police told FOX 5. She began working at 7-Eleven after retiring from the armed services due to injuries she sustained in a car accident.
The case went cold after law enforcement failed to develop any solid leads, City News Service reported. However, officials did collect blood samples from the suspect at the scene of the crime, keeping the case in circulation for decades even though DNA analysis wasn’t in use at the time of the murder.
The blood was first submitted to the San Diego Sheriff’s Crime Laboratory for further analysis in 2008 and was searched regularly with no hits, FOX 5 reported. For years afterward, familial DNA searches were performed on the sample, still not yielding any results.
Finally, in 2013, National City Police joined forces with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. That partnership, along with advances in forensic technology, finally led investigators to identify Cornett as a suspect, City News Service reported.
After his arrest, Cornett was booked into the Las Vegas Detention Center by Las Vegas police and the FBI. He will now be extradited to San Diego to face murder charges, Lt. Derek Aydelotte told City News Service.
Bryant is survived by her father and two sisters, FOX 5 reported.