Gwinnett County Police believe they have solved a nearly six-year-old murder case.
A murder warrant has been obtained for Gerson Salmeron-Diaz, 26, who is accused of killing Margaret Binkele in July 2008. Police say DNA linked Salmeron-Diaz to the crime.
Gwinnett County spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said in a media release that Salmeron-Diaz is currently being held at Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, New Mexico.
Binkele, who was 58 at the time of her death, was found dead in her home on Heather Pines Drive near Sugar Hill on July 25, 2008. Police said she had been beaten and stabbed, and suffered severe head trauma. She had been deceased in the home for several days.
Smith said during the autopsy, a sexual assault kit was completed and an unknown DNA profile was collected and entered into the Combined DNA Index System.
The case was moved to cold-case status after all leads were exhausted, but the case was re-opened after the DNA hit a match in the CODIS database on March 20, 2014.
“The matching DNA belonged to Gerson Salmeron-Diaz,” Smith said. “It was later determined Diaz was Binkele’s neighbor at the time of the murder, but was not in the area during the period of the investigation.”
Sometime after the murder, Salmeron-Diaz was deported to El Salvador on an unrelated arrest, but showed up again in the U.S. on Dec. 11, 2013, when he and five others were busted with 400 pounds of marijuana in Arizona.
His DNA was entered in the index system, leading to the match.
Detectives with Gwinnett’s Cold Case Unit traveled to New Mexico to interview Salmeron-Diaz and collect another DNA sample, which confirmed the earlier match.
Salmeron-Diaz will be transported to Gwinnett to face the murder charge.