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DNA connects death row inmate to 1998 rape, murder cold case in Broward County

Sheriff's Office identifies victim as Eileen Truppner, killer as Lucious Boyd
Eileen Truppner
Posted at 8:02 PM, Dec 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-05 20:03:12-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A nearly 25-year-old rape and murder cold case has been solved due to DNA forensics and genetics, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Sheriff Gregory Tony identified the victim as 41-year-old Eileen Truppner and the killer as Lucious Boyd, 64, at a news conference. Boyd is on death row for the murder of 21-year-old Dawnia Dacosta approximately two weeks before Truppner's death, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Lucious Boyd is on death row
Lucious Boyd is on death row.

The mother of two had left native Puerto Rico and moved to South Florida. Her cause of death was determined to be strangulation.

In December 1998, Truppner’s body was found by a boater in southwest Broward County near US Route 27, according to a news statement from May.

BSO cold case homicide detectives retested the sex assault kit in the Jane Doe case in 2021 to determine if Roberto Fernandes might have been responsible for her murder.

Fernandes was a Brazilian serial killer and rapist who was linked to the murders of three prostitutes in Miami from 2000 to 2001. Fernandes died in a plane crash in Paraguay before he could be arrested for his crimes.

Using DNA found at the crime scene, investigators contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement genealogy unit. DNA swabs from Truppner’s relatives were taken for comparison.

Advancements in DNA testing technology enabled crime lab detectives to connect Eileen’s DNA to Boyd’s DNA, which had been collected as evidence in the Dacosta homicide.

On Nov. 29, a Broward County grand jury indicted Boyd for Eileen’s murder of first-degree murder and sexual battery.

"Lucious Boyd’s indictment for Eileen’s homicide is possible due to the collaborative efforts of BSO cold case detectives, crime lab analysts and crime scene investigators,” Tony said. “Now, Eileen’s family can put an end to decades of living with uncertainty while detectives continue their mission with one thing in mind - justice has no expiration date."

The office emphasized Boyd is a suspect in several other homicides. He reportedly traveled across the state of Florida and the sheriff’s office is looking for tips from anyone who may have had contact with him between 1995 and 1999.

"We strongly believe he’s a serial killer," said Broward County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jonathan Brown.

Eileen’s story was the focusof the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s “Open and Unsolved” cold case series. An update to that episode was released later.

This is the 21st cold case that has been solved since the BSO Homicide Cold Case Unit was established in 2019.

"If you commit a crime, a brutal murder or a rape, whether it (was) 20 years ago or tomorrow," Tony said, "We’re gonna track you down and bring you into custody."

"The wound is open, it hurts and it hurts like it was yesterday," Truppner’s sister Nancy said.