DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Almost four decades after a Florida woman Beaten to death, her body run past near a train station in Delray Beach, city police arrested a man they believe was responsible for her murder.
Law enforcement officers arrested Ralph Williams in Jacksonville on Monday after a grand jury indicted him in the 1983 murder of Carla Lowe, a 21-year-old woman from southern Florida.
The arrest is the first for Delray Beach’s cold-case unit, which the department established in January.
Investigators say new fingerprint technology led them to meet Williams, who allegedly killed Lowe on November 13, 1983, while she waited at Amtrak train station.
“This is exactly why the cold case position was initiated earlier this year,” said Delray Beach Sheriff Javaro Sims. “To help bring some degree of closure to families who have lost any hope of justice for their losses.”
There is no clear link between Lowe and Williams, and the motive for the murder is not known, Detective Todd Clancy, head of Delray Beach’s cold case unit, said Tuesday.
Clancy says new technology from a UK-based company has helped investigators obtain fingerprints from a piece of evidence left at the scene.
“We can’t do this fingerprinting in the old traditional way that a crime scene would do,” he said. “There’s a new process done by UK-based company Foster & Freeman and they have a new machine and it can take fingerprints.”
Detectives did not specify where the fingerprints were found, saying that the investigation is still open.
As Clancy and the current and former Delray Beach investigators spoke, members of the Lowe family watched nearby. They did not speak at the press conference and left without answering questions. Jackie Lowe-Repass, Carla’s older sister, later made a statement through the police.
“I just want the world to know that Carla is a good person,” Lowe-Repass said in a statement. “She’s a beautiful and dedicated person. She’s not just some trash that someone threw away.”
On her reaction to Williams’ arrest: “I’ve played this in my head a thousand times. I never thought this day would come. Now there’s a name for the person who did this to you. my daughter.”
Williams, a former South Florida resident who now lives in Jacksonville, was arrested with assistance from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. As of Tuesday, he remained in custody in Duval County pending extradition to Palm Beach County.
Julius Whigham can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @JuliusWhigham.