DNA helps track down suspect in 1984 murders

Seldon Wayne Colvin has been indicted on murder and capital murder charges

June 4, 2010 8:31:46 AM PDT
A man is under arrest for the murders of two people back in 1984, thanks to years of police work and advancements in DNA testing technology. On September 28, 1984, the badly decomposed bodies of John Robert Buckels, 38, and Janis Petkas McMahan, 37, both of Houston, were found along Old Highway 105 near Cleveland in Montgomery County. They both had died of gunshot wounds.

Sheriff's Office detectives in 1984 conducted interviews and followed numerous leads throughout the course of the investigation. While the detectives worked many hours and developed suspect information, all efforts to solve the case were unsuccessful.

During the initial investigation blood evidence was discovered and collected by the Houston Police Department but technology of the time did not allow for the type of forensic testing that is available today. That blood evidence remained stored in the Houston Crime Lab for nearly 25 years.

In July 2009, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office cold case detectives reopened the murder investigation and located the evidence stored at the Houston Police Department. Using grant funds made available to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office through the National Institute of Justice, DNA testing was applied to the evidence. DNA analysis linked a suspect who had been identified in 1984 with the murders.

In the pursuit of justice and with the full confidence of Sheriff Tommy Gage and support from the District Attorney's Office the investigation pushed forward with Detectives tracked down witnesses across Texas and in Florida. The efforts cumulated into the arrest of Seldon Wayne Colvin, 58, on Wednesday at the parole office in Pasadena after a Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted him on murder and capital murder charges.


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