DNA links man to 1992 Alachua County killing

Investigators say 21-year-old woman was sexually assaulted, beaten to death

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Florida Department of Corrections booking photo of Paul Rowles

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. - The Alachua County Sheriff's Office has cleared a 20-year-old unsolved killing of a 21-year-old woman.

Investigators said DNA analysis connected 64-year-old Paul Rowles to the death of Elizabeth Foster (pictured below).

On March 15, 1992, at about 12:30 p.m., Foster told her roommate she was going to a nature park on Southwest 13th Street to read. Foster and her blue Honda CRX were reported missing the following day.

On March 18, 1992, her vehicle was located in the parking lot of the former Brown Derby restaurant on U.S. Highway 441, south of Williston Road.

Eight days later, a shallow grave was found by a state park ranger on the east side of U.S. 441, not far from the Brown Derby. The grave was excavated and Foster's body was discovered.

Autopsy results indicated that Foster had been sexually assaulted and died as a result of a severe beating.

Several years after the killing, Rowles was developed as a suspect. He is a registered sexual predator and currently serving a life sentence in the Florida Department of Corrections for first-degree murder.

When Sheriff Sadie Darnell took office, she made cold cases a high priority and formed the first Cold Case Unit.

"This case highlights the importance of the work of this unit and the commitment to solving these cold cases," a Sheriff's Office news release reads.

The case has been submitted to the state attorney's office, which will make the determination whether to prosecute.

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