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DA: Killer ID'd in 1985 cold case murder of Denver teen

Tracey Wooden

CBS Denver

DENVER, Colo. -- Authorities in Denver have identified a suspect in a 30-year-old cold case murder using DNA, according to the Denver District Attorney's Office statement.

Officials there announced Monday they believe Daniel Fellovetr, a convicted rapist who died in a Colorado prison in 2006, sexually assaulted and killed 16-year-old Tracey Wooden, who was found strangled to death in a Denver alley on Aug. 12, 1985.

The Denver teen had been seen alive just 90 minutes earlier, around 6 a.m. that day, leaving a local hospital where she was treated for injuries to her legs after an unrelated motorcycle accident, according to the statement.

Officials believe Fellovetr didn't know the victim, Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson told 48 Hours' Crimesider.

The investigation into Wooden's murder languished in part because some of the physical evidence from the crime scene had been shipped to a private lab in California after the murder, and investigators from Denver's cold case team ran into roadblocks trying to recover it, Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's office, told Crimesider.

In February of this year, investigators were able to recover the evidence, Jackson said.

Kimbrough said they were also able to extract DNA from biological material found on the victim's clothing and evidence swabs from the victim. When they uploaded the DNA to the CODIS database -- the FBI's Combined DNA Index System -- it matched Fellovetr.

Fellovetr and a co-defendant were convicted in an attack on another woman that happened just two months after Wooden's murder in 1985, officials say. Fellovetr and the second man were apprehended as they sexually assaulted the woman just north of downtown Denver, Jackson said.

The victim in that case survived, Jackson said. Like in Wooden's case, he said Fellovetr didn't know his victim. Fellovetr was convicted and sentenced to prison, and he died in prison at age 48. The co-defendant has also since died.t.

Kimbrough says that her office won't pursue charges because Fellovetr is dead, but said "there's no question" he committed the crime.

Wooden's family has been notified, according to the district attorney's statement.

"They appreciated the fact that Wooden's murderer is now known and that he was only free for two months before being arrested and then dying in prison," the statement read.

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.