Technology Advances Lead to Arrest in 1979 Murder of 18-Year-Old Texas Newlywed: Police

Police say Debra Sue Reiding was murdered in 1979 by Michael Anthony Galvan.
APD

DNA evidence has tied a 64-year-old Texas man to the cold case killing of an 18-year-old newlywed found dead in her apartment in 1979, police said.

Michael Anthony Galvan was indicted Thursday on one count of capital murder and one count of murder in the death of Debra Sue Reiding, Austin police said

Reiding and her husband, Robert, had recently moved from Montana to south Austin when their new life as a married couple was tragically cut short, officials said.

On Jan. 22, 1979, Robert Reiding arrived home from work to find his wife’s body in their bed. The covers had been pulled up and a pillow was over her head, police said. 

She had been bound and gagged, sexually assaulted and strangled, authorities said. 

With no phone in their apartment, Reiding’s devastated husband rushed to a nearby pay phone to call the cops, but his wife could not be saved

Galvan, who was 25 at the time of the murder, worked at the same restaurant as Reiding and was known to drive her home. Though he had long been considered a person of interest in the case, there was never sufficient evidence to charge him, police said. 

But advances in DNA technology made it possible to link him to the crime, officials said. 

Last year, Galvan’s DNA was tested against semen stains found on the robe Reiding was wearing at the time of her attack and death, KXAN-TV reported

Galvan, who has lived and worked in Austin since the crime, was arrested and booked into the Travis County Jail.

His bond was set at $750,000.

“We want to commend the Austin Police Department, specifically the Cold Case Unit, in its perseverance and dedication to this case," Assistant District Attorney Keith Henneke, the lead prosecutor for the case, said in a statement.

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office, along with APD's Cold Case Unit recently teamed up to investigate cold case murders

"Currently more than 20 Travis County Assistant District Attorneys were hand-selected to work with detectives responsible for nearly 190 cases," police said in a statement. "These team efforts lend strong support and credibility when investigating such challenging cases. The APD Cold Case Unit, along with the Travis County District Attorney’s office, have solved 28 cases to date."

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