Cynthia Rodgers

1989 Rape, Murder Case Closed in Prince George's

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Thirty-three years after a woman was raped and murdered on a foot path in Prince George’s County, Maryland, police say they have closed the case.

Cynthia Rodgers, 27, was a biologist working on Parkinson’s disease research at the National Institutes of Health when she was killed on Super Bowl Sunday in 1989.

Her family believes she was taking the path to the store to buy some ingredients for soup when she was grabbed and dragged into a wooded area, where she was beaten, raped and strangled. She was missing for five days before her body was found.

Police say recently re-examined DNA evidence from the crime scene was entered into an FBI database and matched James Clinton Cole.

“This makes us feel better. My heart is feeling lighter,” said Rosia Rodgers, the victim’s mother.

Cole is already in prison; he was convicted of raping a child in Charles County in 1996

Cynthia's younger brother said news of an arrest after all these years eased some of the pain.

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“The burden has been lifted to a certain point,” Phillip Rodgers said. “There will never be total healing because of the incident altogether, but we have some relief.”

Dawn Page, the victim’s niece, said, “I’ve been advocating for investigation this case for a long time, for at least 33 years."

“This break is definitely cathartic for our family,” she said. “We have relief that we know who is accountable for it.”

For Rosia Rodgers, the news is welcome, but she wants more.

“I really want to see this person who did this face to face,” she said.

Investigators say when they questioned Cole in prison, he denied knowing or ever meeting Cynthia Rodgers, but he wouldn’t say anything more.

Cole is charged with first-degree murder. It’s unclear when he will make his first appearance in court, but Cynthia Rodgers' family say when he does, they intend to be there.

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