BORREGO SPRINGS, Calif. — A cold case dating back to the 1994 murder of 72-year-old Claire “Kay” Holman in Borrego Springs has been solved after 28 years, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday.
Holman was found dead in her home on the 700 block of Tilting T Drive on March 21, 1994. The Sheriff’s Homicide Unit responded to the scene.
The County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy shortly thereafter, determining her death was due to ligature strangulation and ruled it a homicide, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Nine years later in 2003, the Sheriff’s Crime Lab obtained a DNA profile from evidence recovered at the crime scene in 1994 and entered it into a federal database of DNA from unsolved crimes. At that time, no matches were received from the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Moving forward to March 2022, the case was reviewed by the Sheriff’s Homicide Cold Case Team for possible use of investigative genetic genealogy. This effort was made as an attempt to identify the person responsible for Holman’s murder.
The Cold Case Team obtained an additional DNA sample in April 2022 from a strand of hair that was recovered as evidence from the crime scene on Tilting T Drive, officials confirmed. Crime investigators were able to link the sample to Jerry Dewayne Robinson, who they say was a Borrego Springs resident at the time of Holman’s murder.
Five months later in September 2022, the Cold Case Team used investigative genetic genealogy to confirm Robison as the suspect in the murder, the Sheriff’s Office announced. However, detectives said they discovered the man had died in 2007.
Holman’s family was notified about the revelation in the case, which has now been solved.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said they would like to thank everyone who spoke to them and provided valuable information throughout their investigation.