DNA Solves Nearly 30-Year-Old Marana Murder Case

By Steve Shadley
Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 4:39pm
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The Marana Police Department has cracked a cold case dating back nearly 30 years.

DNA evidence helped investigators identify a teenage murder victim and her killer.

The victim has been identified as Deanna Lee Criswell of Spokane, Washington. 

In 1987, her body was found in a culvert off of I-10 in Marana. 

She was traveling to Tucson from Washington by bus at the time. The case was reopened by a retired cop in 2009. 

Marana police spokesman Chris Warren said two years later, Criswell’s body was exhumed and DNA samples linked her to William Ross Knight. He was serving a life sentence for a series of robberies and died in an Arizona prison in 2005.

"His name had never popped up in any of the initial interviews or suspect lists or anything and we had no knowledge that he was connected until we got that DNA hit, until 2011, so that’s six years after his death,” Warren said.

Criswell had been shot numerous times and she wasn’t identified until a few days ago. 

Marana police now consider the case closed.