Texas ranked top 20 in clearing homicide cases

BRAZOS COUNTY, Tex. (KBTX) – The Virginia Freeman case was the oldest murder mystery in Brazos County. Monday News 3’s Whitney Miller learned DNA evidence confirmed the identity of the man who murdered the real estate agent in 1981.

Now there are four cold homicide cases remaining in Brazos County. A recent study from VivantSource.com shows that Texas ranks number 20 in the number of homicides that get solved.

Investigators say with each passing day a murder case gets tougher to solve.

"Whenever you are investigating a homicide, you really want to know how it happened and where it happened and who committed that crime,” said Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk.

Sheriff Kirk says watching a case grow cold can be one of the most frustrating things.

"It's still that mystery that you want to solve and so you continue to follow the leads and hope more leads will come in. So you just keep digging at it," said Kirk.

Vivant Source says the state has a 67.5% clearance rate for homicide cases. The sheriff says that’s thanks to strong investigation skills and new technology.

It's what made the difference in the Virginia Freeman case.

"Samples laid under her fingernails from the commission of the crime back in 1981 to the mid-'90s,” said Kirk. “We finally had the technology that would be able to identify that tissue through its DNA."

The study also found that most states clear at least half of all murder cases.