After more than half a century, New Hampshire’s oldest cold case homicide has been solved. The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office announced last month that the killer of a man named Everett Delano turns out to have been a Vermonter.
Delano was shot in the head at point-blank range in 1966 at an auto-repair garage in Andover, New Hampshire. Solving the case decades later came down to a fingerprint, which had been lifted from the crime scene but never identified, explained New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell.
New Hampshire started its Cold Case Unit in 2009, and Morrell said that Delano’s case was reopened in 2013 after his daughter made the unit aware of her father's unsolved death.
Morrell credited this case's resolution with advances to national criminal database systems. She said the modern database was able to match the long-filed fingerprint and tie Thomas Cass to the crime scene.
According to Morrell, investigators located Cass in Orleans, Vermont, in the fall of 2013; Cass, aware that he was a suspect in the case, died by suicide in 2014.
This past February, the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office officially announced its conclusion that Cass had killed Delano and deemed the case closed.
Morrell said the Delano case is encouraging for investigators and the families of victims whose cases have not been solved. Criminal databases have improved so substantially, Morrell said, that there’s an opportunity to review fingerprints and other basic forensic evidence found at crime scenes decades ago.
With over 120 unsolved homicides in the state of New Hampshire, Morrell said she hopes these advancements will help the state resolve more cases.
“We would like to bring those cases to a conclusion for all of our families,” said Morrell.
Listen to Morrell's conversation with VPR's Mitch Wertlieb above.