Evidence awaiting lab results in 20-year-old Frederick murder cold case

Jul. 10—The Frederick County Sheriff's Office is awaiting lab results in a 20-year-old murder case of a Frederick man, according to spokesperson Todd Wivell.

A hair found on Joshua Crawford's hand after he was killed in 2003 has been sent to a lab for "possible Genealogy testing," Wivell wrote in an email.

The hair sample was previously sent for testing "to obtain a profile that was compared to several individuals that have been ruled out as a contributor to that hair," Wivell wrote. More recently, it was sent again for genealogy testing due to newer technology.

On July 2, 2003, Crawford's 21st birthday, he was found dead from asphyxiation in his Frederick apartment, with duct tape covering his mouth and nose, and with his wrists and ankles bound. He also suffered blunt force trauma to the head and had stab wounds.

At the time, law enforcement found no signs of forced entry to the apartment, leading to speculation that Crawford knew and let in the person or persons who killed him.

The sheriff's office has not made any arrests in the case since the killing.

Genetic genealogy allows someone to compare a DNA sample to a larger database of DNA from volunteer participants. Then, they can determine whether the sample has relatives in the system and how close in relation they are, according to DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs.

This method of testing has been used by law enforcement to solve many decades-old cold cases, including the case of Joseph DeAngelo, known as the "Golden State Killer." A genealogy database led to the arrest of DeAngelo in 2018, who then confessed to numerous murders and rapes from the 1970s and '80s and is serving life in prison.

Wivell added that the hair sample was sent for this testing in accordance with a 2021 Maryland law that established requirements and procedures for forensic genetic genealogical DNA analysis.

Last week marked 20 years since Crawford's death. His family visited his grave site, decorated it and had a fireworks display as his mother, Terry Horman, calls him her "firecracker baby."

Horman said she still hopes the case will be solved.

"I pray, and I hope every day," she said. "I pray for justice."

The case is still an open investigation and a detective is assigned, according to Wivell.

"Out of respect for the deputy and not to interfere with the open investigation, we will not release the name of the detective," Wivell wrote.

Horman said the detective contacted her on Friday to update her on the case.

Over the years, Horman has hired numerous private detectives and collected evidence on her own journey of solving the case after tiring from constantly hearing the same things from law enforcement while the case remained unsolved.

"After five years, I looked at myself, I said: 'You know what? I am a mom. I'm gonna solve this case, somehow, someway,' " he said. "I'm gonna get bits and pieces, and I'm gonna put this together."