DNA evidence cracks 16-year-old Kelowna homicide

A suspect has been charged with first-degree murder in a 16-year-old case in Kelowna, B.C., after police used new DNA techniques.

A suspect has been charged with murder in a 16-year-old case in Kelowna, B.C., after police used new DNA techniques to analyze old evidence.

Neil George Snelson, 43, appeared in a courtroom in the Okanagan city Monday morning to face a first-degree murder charge in the death of Jennifer Cusworth. His next court appearance is Nov. 16.

Police said Cusworth, 19, was last seen alive at a house party attended by Snelson in 1993. Her body was later found in a ditch.

Const. Steve Holmes said improvements in forensic science helped crack the case and identify the suspect.

"Many hundreds of tips were followed up, and hundreds of persons interviewed. We can confirm that DNA evidence was collected from the scene. And that the DNA was but one component in a myriad of facts and evidence that led to the identification and arrest of Mr. Snelson."

The victim's father, Terry Cusworth, said he and his wife never doubted that a suspect would be found.

"We're very relieved and very happy in some kind of a strange way that this has come to fruition now," said Cusworth.