Using DNA to Eliminate Suspects

It's a crime that still haunts a Katy neighborhood more than two decades later. The body of a real estate agent was found in a bedroom of a model home where she had an office. Detectives with the Harris County Sheriff's Cold Case Squad hope DNA evidence will help them crack the case. Pat Hernandez has the story.

35 year old Ester Collins was a successful real estate agent in the Katy area. At the time of her death in November 1987, she was working as a saleswoman for a home builder in the Cornerstone subdivision off Highland Knolls and
South Mason Road. She had an office in one of the model homes.

Sgt. Dean Holtke is with the Harris County Sheriff's Department's Cold Case Squad:

"She was found by some home shoppers that were touring the model home and they discovered her body upstairs, and then called the authorities. She'd been bound and gagged and had sustained numerous stab wounds, she was fully clothed and her vehicle and purse and jewelry were still at the scene."

23 years after the crime took place, the department is now actively investigating the case. Sgt Holtke says with just a minute DNA sample, they're able to eliminate people who knew the victim.

"If we find our bad guy, we have the DNA to prove it's him and I can't go into any more details about where it was found or anything like that."

Claude Anello read a statement on behalf of the family:

"Ester's life was a gift to those who loved her, and that gift was taken away far too soon. Ester's sons and sisters remained committed to ensuring that her assailant or assailants are brought to justice for their cowardly and senseless act."

Amy Smith with Crime Stoppers says the reward for any information has been increased.

"Crime Stoppers and private sources are offering up to a 25-thousand dollar reward. We need the public to call in at 713 222-8477. Let's bring justice for this for Ester, for her family, so anyone with any information please give us a call."

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...