Crime Trackers

May 27, 2014 1:00 AM by Lupita Murillo

N4T Crime Trackers: DNA but no suspect in cold case

TUCSON - DNA is an important component in a homicide case. Once a profile is completed, it has to match a suspect. This is a cold case where modern technology has developed information on who may have killed 71-year-old John Parham over 20 years ago.

It was March 11, 1991, in the Flowing Wells area when Pima County Sheriff's deputies were asked by neighbors to check on their friend.

Cold Case detective Mark O'Dell tells News 4 Crime Trackers, "In the years that I have been a homicide detective, this is one of the more brutal ferocious type killings that I've seen."

The retired car salesman was beaten to death. Patrol deputies found his body inside the house.

Detective O'Dell says the murder was merciless and unrelenting. "Some of the injuries that Mr. Parham suffered from were broken ribs, broken spine; he suffered broken bones in his face."

There were numerous cuts and bruises to his head. "On top of that, the killer even took a nylon string and had wrapped it around Mr. Parham's throat to insure that Mr. Parham was dead."

Detectives believe Parham may have known his killer. "This is someone that had some type of dealing with him that there was a lot of emotional involvement."

Days before his body was discovered, neighbors told detectives they had seen Parham with a man looking at one of the cars Parham possibly had for sale. Investigators say, that wasn't unusual because even though Parham was retired he still sold cars from his home.

Detectives say he always had large amounts of cash on him, and in his home. Yet they located the money when they searched the house, so robbery was ruled out. "Mr. Parham's wife passed away in January of that year. It was known to the family that he was going to make changes to the will and this is one of the possible motives for Mr. Parham's killing."

Detectives say none of the family members matched the profile, and at this time there's been no match for the DNA found in the home.

If you have information on the John Parham case call 88-CRIME or 911.

If you have a story for Crime Trackers email crimetrackers at


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