DNA Grant to Help FBCSO Identify Suspect in an Unsolved Cold Case Murder

By George Slaughter

Julie Esther Hawkins (Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office photo)

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office is reopening a cold case thanks to a $10,100 grant from a nonprofit organization that provides providing funding to law enforcement agencies to help solve cold cases.

Season of Justice provides grants for advanced DNA testing, including forensic genealogy and next generation sequencing.

The sheriff’s office is reopening the case of Julie Esther Hawkins. Her body was found on December 8, 1973, in a wooded area near Clodine Road and FM 1464. The autopsy confirmed that Hawkins, who was 16, was strangled to death. The sheriff’s office has opened a search for new leads in the case.

The sheriff’s office plans to conduct additional DNA testing using next generation sequencing to obtain a full DNA profile. Such state-of-the-art technology was not available in the 1970s.

Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan said the combination of breakthrough DNA technology and persistent investigative efforts offers some hope in solving the case.

“We pray that this revolutionary technology will bring us one step closer to solving this case and bringing closure,” Fagan said. “The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office continues to aggressively investigate violent crime cases dating back to the early ‘70s.”

Anyone with information about this case or any other Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office is asked to contact its robbery/homicide unit at 281-341-4665 or Fort Bend County Crime Stoppers at 281-342-TIPS (8477). Fort Bend County Crime Stoppers will pay an anonymous cash reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and filling of charges for any felony crime.