After 35 years, investigators have arrested 53-year-old Robert Odell Waters of Beaufort, South Carolina in relation to the brutal 1988 murder of young mother Cathy Swartz. Waters was charged with Open Murder, and taken into custody. Waters was identified as a suspect through the use of familial DNA, cutting-edge DNA technology and the expertise of scientists at Othram Labs. The Three Rivers Police Department, Michigan State Police and Western Michigan State University’s Cold Case Program all worked hard to ID Cathy’s alleged murderer and bring him to justice.

For more information on how Cathy’s alleged murderer was brought to justice–and how you can help solve other cold cases–check out Last Seen Alive’s update episode on Cathy’s case, which aired on May 4th, 2023.

Additional update: suspect Robert Odell Waters was found deceased in his jail cell at Beaufort County Detention Center on May 6th, 2023, one week after his arrest.

Sources used to research this update episode:

Michigan State Police and Three Rivers Police Department Team with Othram to Identify the Suspect in the 1988 Murder of Cathy Swartz ( / Othram Labs)

South Carolina Man Arrested in Michigan Woman’s 1988 Killing (Detroit Free Press)

Suspect Arrested in Three Decades Long Three Rivers Cold Case (Katie Sergent and Allie Jennerjahn / News Channel 3)

Arrest Made in 1988 Murder of Young Three Rivers Mothers (Byron Tollefson / WoodTV)

Man Charged in 1988 Michigan Murder Found Dead in South Carolina Jail Cell, Officials Say (Morgan Russ / Click on Detroit)

Want to help more cold cases like Cathy’s get solved? Please check out, where you can contribute monetarily, or with your DNA.

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