BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After reviewing evidence in a murder from 21 years ago, a cold case detective was able to link DNA and fingerprints to a suspect and make an arrest.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said Edward Belin, 51, is charged with principal to first-degree murder in the death of Leonard Noriega, 44, in 1992. Noriega was found dead in his home on Skylark Avenue in Baton Rouge on Dec. 3, 1992.
Deputies said the victim's son discovered his bludgeoned body bound with an electrical cord and a white cloth. They added the man had not been seen by neighbors or family members for at least two weeks prior to the finding. His home had been ransacked. Investigators reported even the air conditioning units and heating vents had been pulled out.
EBRSO said its unresolved homicide detective pulled out the old files in May 2012, which showed fingerprints had been found, in particular, on one of the central air vents that had been removed. The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) database matched the prints to Belin. Detectives also sent evidence for possible DNA extraction to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab and results linking Belin to the case were sent to the sheriff's office on Feb. 1, 2013.
The investigation is ongoing and other arrests may be pending.
"I started an Unresolved Homicide Unit in 2012 for exactly this purpose," Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said in a news release. "There are many cases from years past that went unsolved for whatever reason. New reviews of these cases, new technological advances and new evidence may result in justice being served. If we can take a killer off the street, even 20 years later, and give closure to a family, we are going to do that."