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After 34 Years, a Local Homicide Case is Solved

City & State

Janet Love and Ray Chapa. | Image from Law and Crime

NBC DFW reports that after 34 years as a cold case in Texas, a homicide in Bedford has finally been solved.

On April 24, 1986, Janet Love was found dead in her apartment off L. Don Dodson Drive. She was discovered by two of her co-workers, who showed up at her apartment after she had missed her shift as a ticket agent at Delta Airlines. After examination, the police were later able to determine that she had been sexually assaulted before being killed.    

Investigators often followed up on possible leads but were never able to come away with anything solid. A DNA profile was collected from the scene and was later processed in the FBI Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) when it was created. Years would pass as police continued to investigate the case but to no avail.   

Then, toward the end of 2020, an exciting discovery was made. At that time, Bedford Police Department learned of a grant that the Texas Department of Public Safety offered. It’s called the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Project.

It uses U.S. Department of Justice funds to conduct forensic genetic genealogy testing of DNA samples from unidentified offenders, specifically linked to sexual assaults and sexually related homicides.

Detectives were then able to piece together a family tree of the potential suspect with the help of a genealogist and public records. After identifying the suspect through the support of two family members, detectives were finally getting closer to solving the case.    

In September 2021, Ray Anthony Chapa was identified by Bedford Police as the person who murdered Janet Love in cold blood.

Chapa was the neighbor of Love in the same apartment complex, less than 1,000 feet away. In 1986, DNA technology was not advanced enough to solve crimes, and law enforcement agencies didn’t pass reports between each other, so information was scarce.

Now that modern technology has advanced so far, and communication is much easier today, Bedford Police could finally lay the case to rest.     

Ray Chapa recently passed away in January 2021 from a terminal illness. In addition to living in the DFW area, detectives learned that Chapa stayed in Chicago and Montana.

They are now working with the FBI to investigate other possible offenses Chapa could have committed across the country. The Bedford Police Department met with the families of Janet Love and Ray Chapa. Both families have asked for privacy at this time.