David Rojas Arrested In 1989 Murder Cold Case

David Rojas
Dallas Police | Dallas Police

News & Politics
Jessica Powers

Dallas Police recently arrested David Rojas, 53, on the charge of capital murder in the death of Mary Hague Kelly more than 30 years after the crime.

Unfortunately for Rojas, DNA collected from discarded beer cans helped link him to the case.

Dallas Police Discovered The Body Of Mary Hague Kelly In 1989

Dallas police responded.
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On January 19, 1989, Dallas Police responded to 411 North Frances Street for the report of a dead person, Dallas Police said in a press release.

At the scene, Dallas Police found Mary Hague Kelly, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Police did not say whether she was reported missing, or how long she may have been there before police were notified of the body.

There were no signs of forced entry into the home, but Kelly’s personal belongings and her vehicle had been taken from the scene. Police did not say whether the car or the personal belongings were ever recovered in the years after Kelly was discovered.

Mary Hague Kelly Died Of Strangulation When She Was 78 Years Old

The medical examiner determined Mary Kelly was strangled.
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The Medical Examiner later determined her cause of death was strangulation. At the time of Kelly’s death, DNA samples were taken in hopes there would someday be the opportunity to link the evidence to a suspect.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Kelly was 78 years old when she was killed.  There is very little information available about Mary Hague Kelly and the kind of woman she was, or what family members she left behind after her murder.

Police Got Information Back On DNA Testing That Shed More Light On The Case

DNA helped solve the case.
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The investigation into Kelly’s death continued, and on June 28, 2022, DNA testing finally came back that the sample taken from Kelly’s body was a match to Rojas.

A Discarded Six-Pack Of Bud Light Was Used To Match His DNA To The Case

DNA from a beer can helped solve the case
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DNA samples from Kelly's body were taken in 2004, but no matches were found. However, on June 28, 2022, DNA family tree results found that 53-year-old David Rojas matched the sample. Rojas was a half-brother that lived next door to the victim.

A discarded six-pack of Bud Light was used to match his DNA said police. They honed in on Rojas and were able to make an arrest less than a month after the DNA evidence came back and the truth of who killed Mary Hague Kelly finally came to light, 33 years after the fact.

Rojas Was Ordered Held On $750,000 Bond

He is being held in jail.
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Following further investigation, Rojas was taken into custody on July 22, 2022, in Dallas and taken to the Dallas County Jail.

Jail records show Rojas was held on a $750,000 bond. It is unclear if Rojas has a criminal record or what the possible motive for the murder could have been. It is not clear if Rojas even knew Mary Hague Kelly.

Recently, cases across the country have been solved as police continue to submit DNA from old cases in hopes of finally finding closure and determining what happened to victims.

The U.S. Department of Justice now even offers the Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA Program, which provides funds to prosecute violent crime cold cases. The funding allows police departments to take new, closer looks at old cases that have gone unsolved, something for decades, even though detectives obtained DNA at the time and still have it available for testing.

Since it often takes the work of specialized labs, retesting can be expensive and a large burden for small police departments that struggle with the time and resources needed to fully investigate a cold case. The fund helps decrease the number of unresolved violent crime cold cases.

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