A cold case dating back 63 years has haunted the Capital Region and the town of Colonie since 1959. Now, police hope the potential of DNA evidence can bring closure to the victim's family.

On December 8, 1959, a bus driver made the horrific discovery. The body of a lifeless young woman in a ditch off to the side of Sand Creek Road in Colonie.

The woman was identified as 18 year old Ruth Whitman of Albany. Police determined the official cause of death was drowning - perhaps from the water in the ditch, but it was apparent that she had been brutally attacked and murdered.

Ruth Whitman/New York State Police photo
Ruth Whitman/New York State Police photo

Back in 1959 there was no DNA analysis available, but Colonie Police believe there is a slight chance that DNA from the victim's body could hold clues that could identify the killer. Spotlight News looked into the matter in depth and talked to Deputy Colonie Police Chief Robert Winn:

This was an investigative step we had always considered and it is certainly a drastic measure, in any case, to exhume a body, but at this point in the investigation there is nothing left for us to do. This is the last attempt for us to try and get DNA evidence.

Winn says there are a number of suspects, including infamous Capital Region serial killer Robert Garrow, who police say may have lived near Whitman at the time of her murder.

Robert Garrow Being Removed in Wheelchair by Police
Troopers with serial killer Robert Garrow/Getty Images

Whitman is currently buried at Calvary Cemetery in Glenmont. Police say they expect the exhumation to happen this summer. DNA will be collected by a medical examiner and sent to a lab in Virginia to be analyzed. Analysis could take as long as six months.

Calvary Cemetery in Glenville/Google Street View
Calvary Cemetery in Glenville/Google Street View

Colonie Police are working with the College of St. Rose Cold Case Analysis Center in their investigation. The Center gives students a chance to examine and reexamine evidence from unsolved cases in the Capital Region.

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NEVER attempt to apprehend a fugitive yourself. If you have information on the location of any of these fugitives, you can contact OSI 24 hours a day / 7 days a week to report it. All leads and tips are treated as confidential information.

If an immediate response is necessary, such as you see the wanted person at a location, please call “911” and report it to the police.

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