LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A Maryland cold case unit has charged a man in the nearly 31-year-old murder of a Laurel woman.

Stefanie Sue Watson, 27, left her home for a night shift at Laurel-Beltsville Hospital on July 22, 1982. She never arrived at work and a family member reported her missing the next day.

Watson’s car was found four days later in a parking lot on 4th Street in Laurel. Blood stains in the car were collected for evidence. Her body was found a few months later, in September 1982, in the woods near the 13000 block of Larchdale Road in Laurel.

In March, Prince George’s County Police detectives had DNA evidence from the case tested. On June 19, there was a positive match to 68-year-old John Ernest Walsh through the Maryland Combined DNA Index System. He has been charged with first-degree murder.

Walsh is already incarcerated at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Md.

Police tell WNEW’s Kevin Rincon that Walsh was convicted of a rape and kidnapping several years before Watson’s murder. He was sent to the Patuxent Institution in Jessup but was released on parole in 1980. He was sent back to prison in 1989 for violating the conditions of his parole.

WNEW’s Kevin Rincon contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.


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