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DNA technology solves 35-year-old Bedford murder case

Bedford Police say they have solved a 35-year-old case.

In 1986, Janet Love was found raped and murdered in her apartment. Latest DNA technology led the police to know it was their neighbor. But they didn’t find out until after his death.

It has been more than 35 years since Love was found dead in her Bedford apartment. The case went through the hands of 15 different detectives until the police were finally able to match the DNA of the crime scene to identify their killer.

Rebecca Roberts finally has a long-awaited sense of isolation more than three decades after her sister was murdered.

“The emotion is still raw. You think you processed them. You think you put her to bed, but she just comes back, ”she said.

Bedford Police say DNA from the 1986 crime scene confirms Love’s killer was Ray Anthony Chapa, who is now dead.

“None of this is going to bring you back, but it’s a sense of justice,” said Roberts

32-year-old Love was originally from Louisiana and moved to Bedford in 1985 to work as a ticket agent for Delta Airlines at DFW Airport. Her shift was from 3 p.m. to midnight.

And even though Love lived alone, Roberts says that her family was never concerned about their highly independent family member.

“We knew she was smart enough to take precautions and be as safe and careful as possible,” said Roberts.

On April 24, 1986, Love’s body was discovered by colleagues in her apartment on L Don Dodson Drive. She was raped and fatally shot.

“We’ve looked at many serial offenders over the years and tried to correspond with someone with this one,” said Bedford Police Sgt. Brett Bowen. “So it’s been a long way.”

With little evidence, the investigation was cold.

But in 2020 a DOJ grant enabled Bedford detectives to conduct advanced DNA testing on sexual assault cases. DNA from Love’s case was sent to the UNT’s Human Identification Center.

“They did the advanced testing and forensic genealogy and came up with a name for us,” Bowen said.

That name was Ray Anthony Chapa, who was only 19 years old in 1986.

Sgt. Bowen says Chapa has had a number of odd jobs over the years and had a criminal history that included theft and drug possession. Back then. he lived about 250 yards from Love’s apartment.

Chapa died of an incurable disease in January 2021, aged 53, nine months before police identified him as a murderer.

“It’s probably best that he’s not alive and that our family doesn’t have to go through a trial and all of the roller coaster of emotions that comes with it,” said Roberts.

Roberts says she is now focused on chilling memories of her fun and fun-loving older sister.

Chapa was living west of Bedford in Bluffdale when he died but had previously lived in Chicago and Montana.

Bedford Police are working with the FBI to link Chapa to other crimes he could be linked to across the country.