DNA analysis leads to arrest in 1972 Waikiki fatal stabbing

Sep. 14—Honolulu police have used DNA comparisons and evidence to make an arrest in connection with the Jan. 7, 1972, killing of Nancy Elaine Anderson, who was found stabbed and unresponsive in her Waikiki apartment.

Anderson, a 1970 graduate of John Glenn High School in Bay City, Michigan, was 19 when her roommate found her with multiple stab wounds in their apartment at 2222 Aloha Drive in Waikiki. Anderson moved to Hawaii in October 1971 and was working at the McDonald's at Ala Moana Center at the time of her death.

At the time, Honolulu Police Department investigators conducted extensive investigations but did not turn up any viable leads.

HPD investigators used Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia, to identify a suspect in the case through DNA comparison, according to police. It was enough for HPD investigators to obtain a no-bail warrant.

At about 4 a.m. Hawaii time today, police in Reno, Nevada, arrested 77-year-old Tudor Chirila on suspicion of second-degree murder without incident. Chirila is pending extradition to Hawaii, according to HPD.

According to a Jan. 8, 1972, story in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Anderson's body was found by her roommate, Jody Spooner, then 18.

Spooner told police she came home at 2 :30 p.m. and found Anderson visiting with two male salesmen. Spooner took a nap and thought she heard a scream at about 4 :15 p.m. but did not check on Anderson until about 5 p.m. when she found her body.

Anderson was lying on her back in a pool of blood on the floor of her room with "five or six " slash marks to her neck, chest and abdomen.

Police found evidence of a struggle and a blue towel in the stairwell that matched towels in Anderson and Spooner's apartment.

Reno Police Department Sgt. Laura Conklin told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that her department was happy to assist HPD's cold case investigation of the Anderson killing. "They contacted us and we were able to find him, " said Conklin.

One of the services employed by investigators was DNA phenotyping, which is the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence, according to a description of Anderson's cold case on HPD's website.

Using DNA evidence from this investigation, Parabon produced trait predictions for a person of interest in the case, police said. Individual predictions were made for the subject's ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, a Snapshot composite was produced depicting what the Chirila may have looked like at 25 years old.

Snapshot composites are "scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA, " and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance, police said.

HPD has more than 200 cold cases that officers continue to investigate, police said.