PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police investigating the murder of John “Jack” Fay in Warwick City Park discovered DNA evidence at the scene, but it wasn’t until years later that they were able to match it with a suspect.
The DNA, which police said was found in several spots, including under Fay’s fingernails and on the possible murder weapon, had been preserved at the Rhode Island Department of Health’s forensics lab since it was recovered.
“We started working on this particular case when it first happened, so we’ve been involved in this case since the beginning, since 2013,” lab supervisor Cara Lupino said Thursday.
Fay, 66, was found dead on May 17, 2013, about 36 hours after he had gone for a jog in the park, according to police.
Lupino said the DNA at the lab was looked at several times over the years but there was never a match in the system, until Warwick police called with a lead this past weekend.
“[Police] said, ‘we have a specimen coming in and we’re asking if it could possibly be expedited,’ so when we got the reference sample from the suspect Tuesday morning, we actually did that testing on Tuesday and released it Tuesday afternoon,” Lupino explained.
That suspect was Michael Soares, who was arrested Tuesday and charged with Fay’s murder after the lab confirmed the match.
The match was first discovered by IdentiFinders International, a California-based genealogical research company that was brought into the investigation by Warwick police last year. As it turns out, Soares’ distant cousin used a consumer DNA testing kit and when that company opened its database to a third-party genealogy website, IdentiFinders got a hit and notified police.
Soares, 33, of Pawtucket, is currently being held without bail. Since he’s charged with first-degree murder, the case now goes to a grand jury, who could decide to bring it up to Superior Court.