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DNA match leads to arrest in 1989 double murder cold case

Analysis of a spot of blood identifies suspect in the murder of a Vermont couple found stabbed to death in their home


Michael Anthony Louise, 79, faces second degree murder charges in the 1989 deaths of a Vermont couple.

Vermont State Police

Associated Press

WATERBURY, Vt. — A drop of blood that was subjected to modern DNA testing enabled Vermont State Police detectives to make an arrest in the 1989 murder of a Danby couple found stabbed to death in their home, police said.

Michael Anthony Louise, 79, was arrested Thursday in Syracuse, New York, on two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of George Peacock, 76, and Catherine Peacock, 73, police said.

The Peacocks were found dead on Sept. 17, 1989. There were no signs of forced entry or items of significance having been removed from the house.

Louise, who was married to one of the Peacocks’ daughters, was identified as a suspect about two weeks later. Investigators at the time developed circumstantial evidence tying Louise to the killings, police said.

Detectives were unable to establish a conclusive link until forensic testing in May 2020 confirmed a DNA match to George Peacock in a spot of blood found inside Louise’s car in October 1989.

The blood sample had been tested previously, but earlier tests were inconclusive.

Authorities did not say why it took two years to make the arrest following the DNA match, but said more information would be released when Louise is arraigned.

It could not immediately be determined if Louise has an attorney. It’s unclear when he will be returned to Vermont to face charges.