Bucks County DA pursuing new DNA lead in 1990 Bristol murder of Donna Dickey

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office has assigned a county detective to investigate a new lead in the 1990 murder of a Falls woman, after identifying a man who may match DNA evidence taken from the victim.

Donna Dickey, a 32-year-old mother of two, was found raped, sodomized and strangled to death in a small piece of Silver Lake Park located in Bristol Borough.

Her murder appeared unsolvable until 2017, when the case was reopened at the request of an amateur documentary filmmaker, and new evidence was found that suggested two potential male matches from DNA evidence taken from Dickey.

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The existence of the matches was not made public until last month, when this news organization revealed it in a story about the cold case and the previously unknown efforts of a California woman to solve it.

A retested DNA profile entered into the national database has at least one match — a convicted criminal in York County, South Carolina, named James Larry Parker, who died in 2014 at age 67, and who had connections to Bucks County around the time of Dickey's death.

Now Bucks County Detectives are following up on a second potential DNA match discovered in the Dickey case file.

Undated photo of Donna Dickey who was murdered Aug. 10, 1990.  In 2017 DNA  matched to a convicted criminal who died in 2014.
Undated photo of Donna Dickey who was murdered Aug. 10, 1990. In 2017 DNA matched to a convicted criminal who died in 2014.

In a 1991 letter, the case's original lead investigator, Bristol Detective Charles Favoroso, asked the Georgia Vital Statistics Agency for assistance locating family information for a then-29-year-old man living in Willingboro, New Jersey.

According to the letter, the man was ruled out as a suspect through DNA testing, but it was the examiner’s opinion the sample could have come from a “father, son or brother" of the man, who was born in Georgia.

With support and assistance from the Bucks County DA's Office, filmmaker Cathy DeBuono resubmitted a request to the Georgia state agency last month for a copy of the man's birth certificate.

She recently received copies that confirm the man has a younger brother, who also lived in Willingboro in the 1990s.

DeBuono called it “incredibly exciting” that authorities now have a name and can actively take the next steps to continue the investigation to determine if anyone else was involved in Dickey’s murder.

“Let’s hope he is alive and that Donna and her family get the justice that is so long overdue,” DeBuono said.

Dickey's sister, Jill Stinson, of Falls, has waited decades to see momentum on her sister's murder investigation. She credits DeBuono's interest and efforts with reviving law enforcement interest in the case.

"I try not to get myself to be impatient because it's been a really long time," Stinson said.

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: DNA discovery brings new momentum to unsolved Bristol murder