Ferris Police investigators hope an untested piece of physical evidence will lead to a break in a 2009 homicide.
More than eight years ago Stephen Taylor and Janine Johnson were violently murdered while they slept in their Ferris home. The murder took place between the hours of 7-8 p.m. on March 21, 2009, and 1:26 p.m. the next day in the 400 block of Church Street.
Ferris Police Chief Eddie Salazar stated the untested piece of evidence came to light after investigators presented the case to the Sheriff’s Association of Texas Cold Case Review Team in Austin. Formed in 1985, the Cold Case Review Team has provided assistance to all law enforcement agencies on unsolved-major crimes.
“Looking at some of the photographs they spotted something that was significant that had never been looked at by anyone else. It could lead us to have DNA extracted,” Salazar said. “We took a particular piece of clothing, and we are going to have it analyzed by the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences.”
Salazar stated the review team is made up of about 20 people. Officers then have 45 minutes to an hour to present the case to the group for its review. The group then gives recommendations, which resulted in Ferris Police taking a closer look at Johnson’s clothing.
“When they pointed that item out to us we thought that this was good. We came back and looked at our notes to make sure we hadn’t done this before,” Salazar stated. “We made an appointment with SWIFS and went and talked to them and told them what we had. They said, 'bring us what you have, and we could probably do it.'”
Salazar explained, if DNA exists, SWIFS will run the sample through the Combined DNA Index System. The FBI website states the database contains DNA profiles contributed by federal, state and local participating forensic laboratories.
Results from the scientific analysis could be returned to police as early as 90 days.
Salazar thanked the hard work of the department’s investigators who have made great strides in the case.
People who have information about this crime can contact the Ferris Police Department at 972-544-2225. The department is located at 111 Ewing Blvd. in Ferris. Anyone with information can also contact the Ellis County Crime Stoppers organization at 972-937-PAYS. Callers can remain anonymous.