Alaska State Troopers announced on Tuesday that they made an arrest in the 1978 murder and sexual assault of 16-year-old Shelley Connolly. They report that they took into custody Gresham, Oregon man, 62-year-old Donald F McQuade and charged him with first and 2nd-degree murder.
Connolly’s body was found near Beluga point next to the Seward Highway, south of Anchorage over 40 years ago and the Criminal Investigation Bureau, now known as the Alaska Bureau of Investigations opened an investigation into her death. The state medical examiner determined that the autopsy showed her death was a homicide and that she had also been sexually assaulted.
It wasn’t until the homicide was reported by local media that her family called in to report her missing and revealed her identity. There were no clues as to the identity of the person who killed her and the case eventually went cold.
In 1997. The Cold Case Unit requested that the Alaska Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory develop a DNA profile from the unknown male, and in 2003 that unidentified DNA profile was uploaded to CODIS. No match was generated.
Finally, early this year, that DNA profile was submitted to Parabon Nanolabs. Soon thereafter Donald McQuade was identified as a possible suspect in the murder investigation. Was also found that McQuade, then 21 years old, also resided in Alaska.
“Investigators have spent years analyzing this case looking for a viable lead. I have an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction that all that had paid off,” Cold Case Investigator Randy McPherron said. “More than anything, I am relieved to be able to provide Shelley’s friend and family with a sense of justice and the knowledge that Shelley was more than a name on an unsolved homicide sitting in a filing cabinet somewhere. Every single victim matters to us.”
“Not only is DPS dedicated to giving each case, the attention it deserves, we are committed to holding perpetrators of violent crimes accountable and always supporting victims and their families,” said Commissioner Amanda price “no matter how much time passes, do not give up on providing justice victims and their loved ones.”
Anyone with information related to this crime is encouraged to contact Alaska State Troopers at907-269-5611.