Genetic genealogy testing leads to suspect in 1963 murder

Suspect in Jefferson County murder has not been seen since 1976

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The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has announced it has identified a suspect in another longstanding cold case homicide using genetic genealogy testing.

On April 23, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader and Investigator Elias Alberti announced that an arrest warrant has been issued for James Raymond Taylor in the 1963 murder of 16-year-old Margaret “Peggy” Beck

Beck was found unresponsive at the Flying G Ranch in far southeastern Jefferson County near Deckers on Aug. 18, 1963. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

According to a Sheriff's Office press release, deputies created a John Doe DNA profile in 2007 using evidence originally collected from the crime scene. The profile was then entered into the Combined DNA system.

In June 2019, a more comprehensive profile was created and submitted for investigative genetic genealogy testing. Investigators then followed up on leads and were able to determine that the DNA belonged to James Raymond Taylor, who was born in 1939.

According to the release, Taylor was last seen in 1976 and his whereabouts are unknown.

If anyone has any information on James Raymond Taylor, they are urged to call the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 303-271-5612 or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867); reference case 63-10335.

This is not the first cold case the department has used genetic genealogy to crack. Last September, the Sheriff's Office announced it had solved the 38-year-old cold case murder of an 18-year-old in Lakewood using the technique.

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