Police may have cracked a 1975 killing — by digging through trash

For almost five decades, the killing of 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler — a newlywed found stabbed to death on the floor of her Lancaster County, Pa., apartment — had stumped authorities. What finally led to an arrest in the county’s oldest cold case was the discarded coffee cup — and genetic genealogy.


A gruesome murder which took place on December 5, 1975, was probably solved thanks to DNA genealogy, a new technique that went mainstream with the 2018 arrest of the “Golden State Killer.”

A young woman, 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler, was found stabbed to death on the floor of her Lancaster County, Pa., apartment. Detectives described the crime scene as gruesome and hard to watch. Biechler was a newlywed and was just starting her married life when someone took her life in the worst manner possible. Her jeans was unbuttoned and she was stabbed 19 times. The groceries that she was unpacking at the time her killer entered her place were at the dinner table.

It was her aunt and uncle who came across her dead body after they paid her a visit wanting to exchange some recipes.

The police chased scores of tips, interviewed hundreds of people, presented the case to experts, but to no avail. They were short of leads and the investigation seemed to be going nowhere.

That was until many years later, when authorities decided to get back to the case and allow the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit dug into the clues. The Unit discovered that the potential killer was probably a man who knew Biechler and committed the crime in a fit of rage.

“I have prayed every single night for 30 years that there will be justice for her death,” Biechler’s mother, Eleanor Geesey, told Lancaster Online. “My God, maybe it will come.”

That day finally came thanks to the DNA genealogy. Through the thorough researcher conducted at Reston, Va.-based Parabon NanoLabs determined through DNA evidence that whoever killed Biechler probably had ancestors from a small Italian town called Gasperina. 68-year-old Pennsylvania man, David Sinopoli, was flagged a person of interest. It appeared that he lived near the victim around the year 1974 and was of Italian origin.

It was in February 2022, when authorities closely followed Sinopoli while he had coffee with his wife at Philadelphia International Airport’s Terminal A waiting for a flight. Once he threw the cup of coffee in the trash, detectives retrieved it. The DNA from the cup and that found on Biechler’s underwear was a match.

After almost five decades, Biechler’s potential killer was arrested. Sinopoli was taken into custody and was being held without bail.

“This case was solved with the use of DNA and, specifically, DNA genealogy,” Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said during a Monday news conference. “And quite honestly, without that, I don’t know that we would have ever solved it.

“The reality is that David Sinopoli was not on our radar.”

Thankfully, the justice will be finally served.

“Lindy Sue Biechler was 19 when her life was brutally taken away from her 46 years ago in the sanctity of her own home,” Adams said. “The arrest of David Sinopoli marks the beginning of the court process. And we hope that it brings some sense of relief to the victim’s loved ones and to the community, who for the past 46 years have had no answers.”

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