A dead Boston man has been named as the prime suspect of a 1972 murder in Boston’s Back Bay, local police reported Wednesday.

Michael Sumpter died of cancer in 2001 while serving a 15- to 20-year sentence on an unrelated rape committed in 1975. In 2002, DNA evidence connected Sumpter to the 1985 rape of a 21-year-old woman on Marlboro street. Three years later, the family of a deceased woman names Ellen Rutchick, 23, contacted the Boston Police Department’s Cold Case Squad to see if Rutchick’s murder could be reviewed, as no one had yet been convicted.

Rutchick was also sexually assaulted on the day of her death, so the police department sent evidence from the crime scene to an independent laboratory for analysis. The analysis yielded a genetic profile, which, in 2009, matched Sumpter’s.

"Today’s announcement marks another success for the Boston Police Cold Case Squad while also hopefully providing the Rutchick family with a long-awaited sense of peace and justice for their loved one," says Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis.

His colleague, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, says the evidence is strong enough to hold up in court. "Were Sumpter alive today, we would indict him for murder and expect to prevail at trial.”

About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at http://sachinseth.com or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

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