DNA tests bolster evidence in '87 Anoka County killing

  • Updated: July 23, 2012 - 7:33 PM

Authorities said Monday that DNA tests have linked evidence to a "person of interest" in the 1987 homicide of a Minneapolis woman whose body was dumped in rural Anoka County.

The body of Armonjean Mason, 40, was found alongside a road in Columbus on Dec. 2, 1987. She died from strangulation, officials said; she had stab wounds that didn't appear to have been fatal, and there was evidence her hands and feet had been bound.

In a process beginning in 2010, fingernail scrapings were tested for DNA and pointed detectives toward a person of interest, Anoka County Sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer said at a news conference Monday. The test results aren't enough to arrest the person or to call him a suspect, Sommer said.

The person was identified at the news conference. The Star Tribune generally doesn't name a person in connection with a crime unless charges are filed.

Police tried to talk to the person last month, but he declined to discuss the case. Sommer said detectives have eliminated four other people who had been considered persons of interest in the case.

Sommer hopes the new evidence will help bring forward people who have information about the case. The sheriff's office phone number is 763-323-5000.

Diane Anderson, Mason's sister, described her as a hardworking mother who was the sole provider for her two children. "She didn't deserve to die this way," she said. "This case needs to be prosecuted."

DAVID CHANEN

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