Gresham man arrested for 1978 Alaska murder
Decades after the murder of a 16-year-old girl in Anchorage, Alaska, police have arrested a Gresham man connected to the crime via DNA evidence.
Donald McQuade, 62, was arrested Friday, Aug. 30, without incident in connection to the murder of Shelley Connolly. He faces charges of first-degree and second-degree murder. He was 21 at the time of Connolly's death.
Connolly was last seen in January 1978 talking with four men in a bar. Hours later, her body was discovered in a ditch along a highway 15 miles south of Anchorage.
She had been sexually assaulted, beaten, dragged by a car and thrown down an embankment. Investigators said Connolly had broken fingernails, which may indicate she tried to crawl back up the slope.
Alaska State Troopers said DNA evidence collected during the autopsy was entered into a criminal database in 2003.
This year, further tests narrowed the DNA to three brothers. Investigators learned McQuade was living in Alaska at the time of the murder.
Richard McQuade maintained his brother's innocence to KOIN 6 News, an Outlook news partner.
"How could he have committed this crime 41 years ago and also (be) with a sister who says he wasn't even in the area," Richard told KOIN. "I can only hope that it turns out well and they will give my brother and our family a big apology."
McQuade has lived in Gresham since 2006, and his brother said he hung out at the same bar where Connolly was last seen. Court documents allege McQuade admitted to police he may have had intercourse with Connolly, but denied killing her.
"I have felt and I have talked to other family members — we have never noticed that type of behavior ever in Donald," Richard told KOIN.
McQuade is expected to be extradited to Alaska.
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