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PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Investigators on Friday announced that DNA evidence helped them link a deceased suspect to a cold case from 1987 in Prescott, Arizona.

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In a news conference Friday, Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes announced that DNA evidence found that Bryan Scott Bennett was the man responsible for the death of Catherine “Cathy” Sposito, 23, in 1987, according to The Associated Press.

Bennett had other victims who were attacked and sexually assaulted in the northern Arizona area, KTVK reported.

Sposito was killed on June 13, 1987, according to the news outlet. She was hiking Thumb Butte Trail in Prescott at the time. She rode her bike to the trail that morning and began to hike. Other hikers later reported that they heard screams for help but by the time Sposito was found, she was dead.

She was hit in the head with a rock as well as a wrench, was shot in the eye and then stabbed in the head, investigators said, according to the AP.

When Sposito was killed, Bennett was a 16-year-old high school student in Prescott, the AP reported. Sposito was his first victim. He was never identified as a suspect at the time since DNA analysis was not used, according to KTVK.

Bennett moved from Calvin, Kentucky, and spent about a year and a half there before dropping out of school, Rhodes said, according to the AP.

Investigators now believe Bennett was behind a sexual assault in 1990 on the same trail around the same time as the circumstances behind Sposito’s death, the AP reported.

Rhodes said two months after that incident, he allegedly locked a girl in a room at a house party in Chino Valley where he tried to sexually assault her, the AP reported. He was arrested and then acquitted. Years later in 1993, Bennett moved back to Kentucky and ultimately died by suicide using the same weapon that was used on Sposito, but it was not clear if it was the same one or not.

Years later in 2020, detectives who were investigating Bennett’s second victim’s case got a break, according to KTVK. “Familial genealogy” identified two brothers who could have possibly been the suspect. One of the brothers was Bennett.

In 2022, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office gathered evidence to get a search warrant to exhume Bennett’s body in Kentucky, according to the news outlet. In March 2023, DNA linked Bennett to the 1990 case.

“Through the work of dedicated volunteers, numerous detectives and the many partners who give their time and their hearts to solving these cold cases, four women in were given either closure, peace or validation today,” said Rhodes, according to KTVK.