FAIRBANKS, Alaska (CBS) – Nearly 26 years after Sophie Sergie’s murder at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a Maine man has been arrested and charged in her death. Police said they used the same methods that captured the Golden State Serial Killer.
Steven H. Downs, 44, of Auburn, Maine, was charged for the sexual assault and murder of Sergie.
Sergie, 20, of Pitkas Point, Alaska, flew to Fairbanks, Alaska, on April 24, 1993, for an appointment and to visit friends.
Sergie stayed with a friend at the University Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and was last seen alive shortly after midnight, when she went out to smoke. She was found dead in a dorm bathtub that afternoon after having been sexually assaulted.
After the arrest of the Golden State Serial Killer using genetic genealogy, the Cold Case Unit in Alaska submitted the unknown DNA profile from Sergie’s case.
The results led them to Downs, who was 18 at the time of the killing. Police discovered that Downs had been a student at UAF and lived in the dorm where Sergie was found.
Downs was arrested in Maine and will be extradited to Alaska to face charges.
“While an arrest doesn’t bring Sophie back, we are relieved to provide this closure. This case has haunted and frustrated Sophie’s family and friends, the investigators and beyond. However, we did it. Investigators never gave up on Sophie,” said Colonel Barry Wilson, director of the Alaska State Troopers.