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Donation leads to break in cold case murder

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says a donation helped solve a cold case killing of a 14 year old girl.

Investor and entrepreneur Justin Woo helped to fund the DNA testing that broke open the case.

Stephani Issacson went to school around 6:00 a.m. on June 1, 1989 and did not return home. Issacson’s body was discovered later that day and was found to have been sexually assaulted and strangled.

According to Law & Crime, Othram Labs, based in Texas, worked with a sample from the crime scene. A small amount of DNA, 120 picograms or less than 15 human cells, were used to identify Darren R. Marchand as a suspect in the case. Marchand died by suicide in 1995.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reported in a news conference that the testing took seven months to complete. A lack of new technology is why the samples were not successfully tested in the past.

Although Woo donated money, he was not aware of which cases the LVMPD chose for testing. “It’s really such a sad case, and we’re glad that we could help with it,” Woo told the Las Vegas Sun.

Woo pulled $5,000 out of his pocket in order to solve this particular case. Since then, he has founded a nonprofit called Vegas Helps. According to the website, Vegas Helps was founded to support both Las Vegas locals and the Las Vegas community.

The LVMPD is openly accepting donations for other testing. Donations can be submitted through a website operated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation. For those who would like to donate, it has been requested to be earmarked as follows: “Homicide Cold Case.”

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