Deborah Tomlinson murder case solved after 45 years

Jimmie Dean Duncan has been identified as Deborah Tomlinson's murderer.
Jimmie Dean Duncan has been identified as Deborah Tomlinson's murderer.(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 7:03 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - 19-year old Mesa College student Deborah Tomlinson was murdered inside her Grand Junction apartment just after Christmas in 1975. Now, nearly a half-century later, the case has been solved.

The Grand Junction Police Department has identified Jimmie Dean Duncan, born in April 1949, as Tomlinson’s murderer. Detectives got their breakthrough with the help of a DNA analysis lab based in Virginia, called Parabon NanoLabs.

Duncan died of unknown causes in 1987. He was 26 years old at the time of Tomlinson’s murder. The Grand Junction Police Department is still investigating a potential motive for the killing, though Duncan did have a criminal history. He had previously been involved in a robbery and a separate shooting in Florida.

The discovery gives Tomlinson’s family some long-awaited closure.

“I’m really glad to hear they finally got it done,” says Jim Tomlinson, Deborah’s father. “I called the rest of the family and told them. Everyone was glad to hear that the case is closed.”

Detective Sergeant Sean Crocker says the new revelation would have been impossible if not for the coordination with previous detectives at the police department. He also credited Parabon NanoLabs for helping find crucial evidence to identify the murderer.

“Using all types of genetic genealogy, they arrived at a suspect,” explains Crocker. “After speaking with his family members, we were able to determine without a doubt that Duncan was our only suspect, and he’s the one that committed the murder of Deborah Tomlinson.”

Duncan was not originally a suspect when the killing occurred in 1975. The investigation had been re-opened by detectives in March 2019, and now, it is finally considered a closed case.

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