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Cold case solved after 28 years

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Cold case solved after 28 years
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Syracuse Police say they're not giving up on unsolved murder cases. There are some 90 on the books, dating back 60 years. YNN's Bill Carey says officials are optimistic they're about to close one case from 1985.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It has been 28 years since Colleen Meadow was found, bound and strangled, in her north side Syracuse apartment. But the years have not eased the pain of those she left behind.

"At the time she was murdered, my sister had just turned 27 years old. She was a beautiful, smart, hard working young woman who had everything to live for," said Nancy Moran, the victim's sister.

Colleen Meadow's family has been waiting for some answers for decades. Now, Syracuse Police have charged Colleen Meadow's estranged husband, Ronald Meadow, with murder in the second degree.

It was the work of a cold case squad that led to the charges. A squad in charge of taking another look at close to 90 open homicide and missing persons cases.

"Every one of the cases, there's been a tremendous amount of work put into these cases. So the people who worked on the case before it came to our unit, a tremendous amount of information," said Detective Derek McGork.

There is also technology that has helped. A proposal from a DNA specialist at the city-court forensics lab. Sheila Gentile said the plan was "risky."

"There was some very, very low amount of biological material that she was willing to test and she warned us that there might not be enough and that the material could be destroyed and not available for further examination," said Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.

In the end, the risk was worth taking. DNA material was found. Enough to tie Meadow to the killing.

Technology was important. But so too was old fashioned detective work. Reviewing evidence, talking again to witnesses and acquaintances. Building a timeline that police claim shows Ronald Meadow's alibi was no alibi at all.

"It's been people that have just, their loyalty to a certain individual or affiliation has changed. There's a lot of different avenues that we've explored and it's been successful," said Detective John Nolan.

Successful enough to ease some of the pain for Colleen Meadow's family.

McGork said, "It's nice to be able to provide them with an official answer. That's the best part about this whole thing, I think, is when you can pass the information along to the families."

For the cold case squad, it may end up being another case closed. But there are many, many more yet to be solved.

Ronald Meadow had moved to Georgia just two years after the death of his estranged wife, Colleen. He was arrested earlier this week as he worked on the assembly line of a Mitsubishi plant outside Atlanta. He's expected to be extradited to Syracuse before Christmas for arraignment on the murder charge.

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