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Three Rivers police make arrest in 35-year-old homicide

Three Rivers Police say they’ve solved the 35-year-old cold case killing of 19-year-old Cathy Swartz.

Police found Swartz stabbed to death in her apartment on Dec. 2, 1988, as her 9-month-old daughter lie sleeping in the next room. Detectives found fingerprints, blood and a footprint believed to be from the suspect but had been unable to find a DNA match in the nation’s criminal DNA database.

However, police ran the suspect’s DNA through a Forensic Genetic Genealogy database. That’s DNA that customers have sent in to genealogy companies like or 23 and Me. That produced a match with a family, and interviews with the family members led police to Robert Waters of Beaufort, South Carolina.

St. Joseph County, Michigan Prosecutor David Marvin declined to give details about the circumstances of the homicide but he said Swartz and Waters knew each other. She had been engaged to another man at the time.

“It is a big relief,” Marvin said. “There are lots of people who always wondered. It was a terribly gruesome crime scene. Very upsetting to not have closure after 35 years. We finally do.”

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).