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UPDATE: Green Bay Police discuss breakthrough in city's oldest cold case

Posted at 11:47 AM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 22:00:53-05

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) -- There is new information tonight about Green Bay's oldest cold case. Police say it was new DNA technology that led to a break in the 1986 homicide of Lisa Holstead. Today we heard from Lisa's family and investigators about the genetic profile testing that lead to an arrest.

It was 34 years ago when Lisa Holstead was found murdered in west Green Bay and now over three decades removed from the crime, police believe they found the person responsible.

"It goes to show you that the prayers paid off. It took a while, but it happened," says Susan Holstead.

Susan Holstead, Lisa's sister says the toll of the loss has weighed heavily on her family over the years, especially her mother who has since passed.

"The day it happened, she aged like ten years overnight. The sad part of it is I wish my mom was here to see this."

On Monday police broke down what lead them to the arrest of 65-year-old Lou Archie Griffin, a man with a criminal history who had just moved within miles of the crime scene back in 1986.

"What brought our attention to Mr. Griffin was his past history. He had just gotten out of prison for sexual assault and moved up to Green Bay about a month before," says Detective Dave Graf of the Green Bay Police Department.

Detective Graf says Griffin did not have his DNA in the Department of Justice's system in the late '80s, but advancements in DNA testing technology have recently gotten so sophisticated that investigators are now able to identify relatives of a DNA source.

"In this case, we were able to find a group of people that lived in Wisconsin, and then doing more research on them we came up with Mr. Griffin," adds Graf.

Investigators credit the advancements in their case to solid police work back in 1986, a time when the gathering of evidence from a scene was far from an assurance that police could lean on forensic evidence for a conviction.

"From the get-go we always had DNA that was recovered from Ms. Holstead's body... we have compared that DNA to the DNA of our suspect and it was a match."

And while we may never know what exactly happened in west Green Bay back in 1986, one family is thankful tonight that they are starting to get some answers from the police.

"A new chapter has begun and a new journey has begun and we can really pull together now and maybe start healing," adds Susan Holstead.

Griffin has his next court appearance in mid-December, if convicted he could face life behind bars. Police say at this point they don't believe Griffin and Holstead knew each other at the time of the murder.



GREEN BAY (NBC 26) -- Green Bay Police held a news briefing Monday regarding an arrest made in the city's oldest cold case: the murder of Lisa Holstead.

Holstead’s body was found near what is now Ken Eures Nature Park in Green Bay on August 12th, 1986.

Police announced Friday said 65-year-old Lou Archie Griffin has been arrested on multiple charges related to the homicide of Lisa Holstead.

On Monday, police discussed the case, including reading a letter that Holstead's mother wrote, published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette a few months after Holstead was murdered. Police said Holstead's mother died before she could see justice brought in her daughter's case.

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith said investigators were able to solve this case through forensic genetic genealogy.

Learn more in the news briefing below: