Fairfax County police hope new sketches will help crack 2 cold cases from 2006

Marion Newman, Marion Marshall
Police are asking for help in solving the deaths of Marion Newman, left, and Marion Marshall, right. The women lived two miles apart in Springfield, Virginia, and were killed in 2006. (Courtesy Fairfax County police)

Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, are hoping new sketches created with advanced DNA analysis will help to finally solve two killings that happened 13 years ago.

In 2006, two remarkably similar women were killed within three months of each other. Both were named Marion, in their 70s and lived alone just two miles apart in Springfield. Police do not believe they knew each other.

Marion Marshall, 72, was found dead in her home on Bostwick Drive on Aug. 14, 2006. Surveillance video showed that she visited a grocery store at the Bradlick Shopping Center in Annandale around 11 a.m. She drove home and was unloading groceries when police said she encountered her killer. Police found no signs of forced entry into her home. She was found dead by a friend later that night.

Then on Nov. 21, 2006, the body of 74-year-old Marion Newman was found inside her Reservoir Road home. She was last seen alive on Nov. 19, 2006, when she visited her mother at a senior living community in Springfield.

Marshall and Newman died from strangulation and blunt force trauma; both had been sexually assaulted.

DNA evidence confirmed they were killed by the same person. The DNA was entered into a national database years ago, but no match has turned up.

So police reached out to Parabon NanoLabs in Reston, Virginia, which can take DNA from an unknown person and use it to predict characteristics such as ancestry, eye and hair color and face shape.

Here’s a video from the company showing how it works:

Police don’t know the age of the suspect, so Parabon produced three composite sketches portraying what the man might look like at ages 25, 40 and 55.

suspect, sketch
Fairfax County police release new sketches of the suspect in the deaths of two Springfield, Virginia, women. (Courtesy Fairfax County police)

“The murders of Marion Marshall and Marion Newman are two of our nearly 100 unsolved homicide cases in Fairfax County,” said Major Ed O’Carroll, Fairfax County police’s commander of the Major Crimes Bureau in a news release.

“We are committing countless hours and all available resources to close these cases and provide long-awaited answers to victims’ families, and bring those who committed these awful crimes to justice.”

Anyone with information about the murders is asked to contact police:

  • Call 703-246-7800, option 8
  • Submit an anonymous tip through Fairfax Crime Solvers.
  • Text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).

If your anonymous tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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