In 1975, 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler was found dead and sexually assaulted in her apartment. Her aunt and uncle discovered her with 19 stab wounds from two knives, including her own kitchen knife still sticking out of her neck. Newlywed Biechler had just returned from depositing her and her husbands’ paychecks at the bank and shopping for groceries before the attack, her unpacked bags still on the dining table. But the identity of the murderer went unsolved. Until this year. DNA evidence led to the arrest of 68-year-old David Sinopoli. 
46-Year-Old Cold Case
After the homicide, detectives from Manor Township Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police began to investigate. Multiple leads and 300 interviews went nowhere. Evidence was sent to different labs, but eventually, genetic genealogy analysis plus DNA from the crime scene lead to suspect David Sinopoli. He was arrested and is being held at Lancaster County Prison without bail.
Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said in a press release: “This arrest marks the beginning of the criminal process in Lancaster County’s oldest cold case homicide, and we hope that it brings some sense of relief to the victim’s loved ones and to community members who for the last 46 years had no answers.” 
One of the pieces of evidence from the crime scene included semen found on Biechler’s underwear. Detectives submitted the evidence for DNA analysis in 1997. In 2000, the DNA profile was submitted into CODIS (the Combined DNA Index System), a national database of known convicted criminals. However, there was no match on file.
But in 2019, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Cold Case Unit began to investigate the homicide. The unit received help from Parabon NanoLabs, which analyzed the DNA. The lab identified Sinopoli as a potential suspect.
Matching DNA From a Trashed Coffee Cup
CeCe Moore, a researcher with Parabon NanoLabs, tried a “novel, nontraditional” approach to narrow down the list of suspects, all partial DNA matches. So Moore looked into geographical and immigration patterns and surnames. She eventually deduced the person linked to the DNA descended from Gasperina, a town in southern Italy. Sinopoli fit the prime profile.
“There were very few individuals living in Lancaster at the time of the crime that were the right age, gender and had a family tree consistent with these origins. So this allowed me to prioritize candidates whose descent was determined to be exclusively from families with origins in Gasperina,” Moore said.
As it turns out, Biechler and Sinopoli were neighbors in the same four-unit building a year before the murder. Although he had moved buildings, Sinopoli still lived in the area. During the press conference, Adams didn’t add any other details on how the two may have been connected.