David Anderson was charged in 2021 with the death of Sylvia Quayle after 40 years when DNA from a Vanilla Coke can matched samples from the scene, police said.
CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — The trial is underway for a Nebraska man arrested and charged last year with the 1981 sexual assault and death of a woman in Cherry Hills Village.
Sylvia Quayle, 34, was likely killed by someone who broke into her home overnight between Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, according to Cherry Hills Village Police Department.
David Dwayne Anderson was linked to the crime through DNA last year and faces two counts of first-degree murder, according to court records. One count alleges Quayle was killed after deliberation; the other alleges she was killed in the commission of another felony. His five-day jury trial in Arapahoe County is scheduled to conclude on March 8.
Anderson will be prosecuted under 1981 laws, according to 18th Judicial District District Attorney John Kellner. That means Anderson would be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of a first-degree murder charge, but with the chance for parole after 20 years. Current laws do not allow for parole.
According to an arrest affidavit, Quayle, an Englewood High School graduate spoke with her younger sister around 11 p.m. on Aug. 3 and was found dead by her father who lived nearby shortly before 8 a.m. on Aug. 4 inside her home in the 3800 block of S. Ogden Street.
The coroner said Quayle was stabbed multiple times in the chest and shot in the head, the affidavit says, and her cause of death was listed as blood loss due to the stab wounds that pierced her heart and lungs. A gunshot wound was also listed as a secondary cause of death, the document reads.
In 2000, a DNA sample was submitted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation into the FBI Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The sample remained unidentified for more than 20 years until police said it was linked to Anderson in Jan. 2021.
A full year prior, in January 2020, CHVPD began working with United Data Connect, a genetic genealogy company. They became involved in this case after a suspect was identified in a Jefferson County cold case.
Members of the company met with police in May 2020 and gave the department a lead about the potential source of unknown male DNA. Samples from the crime scene were uploaded to two public DNA databases, including GED Match and Family Tree DNA.
In Jan. 2021, a United Data Connect Investigator traveled to Cozad, Nebraska to secretly collect DNA from Anderson, the affidavit says.
That investigator recovered two separate trash bags that were abandoned in the apartment complex dumpster where Anderson lived, according to the affidavit. Inside the bags was mail and bills belonging to Anderson, the affidavit says, and about 15 items were collected for potential DNA testing.
The following items were submitted for DNA testing:
- Vanilla Coke can
- Great Value water bottle
- Spiced Rum bottle
- Michelob Ultra Bottle
A week later, lab results showed that DNA from the Vanilla Coke can matched multiple items that were found at the Quyale crime scene.
Police requested an arrest warrant for Anderson, who was taken into custody on Feb. 10, 2021 in Nebraska.
Janet Oravetz and Kevin Vaughn contributed to the reporting of this story.
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