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Nancy Anderson had only been living in Waikiki for a couple months when she was found stabbed to death in her apartment

Michigan native Nancy Anderson was living her dream when she moved to Waikiki, Hawaii in 1971 to experience life on the islands.

On Jan. 7, 1972, just two months after moving to the palm tree-filled island oasis, Anderson’s dream was cut short when her roommate woke up from a nap and found the 19-year-old stabbed to death in their small apartment.

For years, police searched for her killer and the case went cold.

Now, 50 years later, thanks to DNA technology, genetic genealogy and solid sleuthing, police have arrested a suspect, Tudor Chirila Jr., 77, of Reno, Nev.

Arrested by the Reno Police Department on a warrant from the Honolulu Police Department, Chirila is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Anderson’s death, according to the criminal complaint and the arrest warrant obtained.

Chirila, an attorney who lived in Honolulu in the 1970s, was a graduate assistant at the University of Hawaii — located near Anderson’s apartment — at the time of her death, Hawaii News Now reports.

One of ten children, Anderson moved to Waikiki in the fall of 1971 to experience life in the Hawaiian islands before heading off to college, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.

She landed a job at a local McDonald’s and found an apartment where she lived with a roommate, Jody Spooner.

On Jan. 7, 1972, at 2:30 p.m., Spooner told police she came home and found Anderson inside the apartment with two silverware salesmen, the arrest warrant says.

About ten minutes later, after the salesmen left, Spooner said she went into her bedroom and took a nap.

When she awoke at 5:15 p.m., she heard water running in Anderson’s room, the arrest warrant says.

She opened the bedroom door to see what was going on since she thought Anderson had already left for work. To her horror, she found Anderson’s lifeless body on the floor.

Thinking Anderson had died by suicide, Spooner ran to a neighbor’s apartment for help and called police.

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Investigators determined that Anderson had been stabbed 63 times and died from a knife wound to the heart, the arrest warrant says.

For years, police sought Anderson’s killer as her devastated family waited for answers.

“She was an integral part of our family and when she was killed it just left a hole in our hearts and in our family,” her brother, Jack Anderson, told Hawaii News Now.

In December 2021, Honolulu Police received a tip that Chirila could be a suspect in Anderson’s murder, the arrest warrant shows.

Authorities tested DNA found on a blood-stained towel in the apartment, the Honolulu Police Department said in a statement.

They also sought the help of DNA technology company Parabon Nanolabs of Virginia, whose genetic genealogists have helped solve numerous cold cases throughout the country, the Honolulu Police Department said in a statement.

“One of the services used in this case was DNA phenotyping, which is the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence,” the statement said.

Using DNA evidence from the crime scene, Parabon produced “trait predictions” for the possible suspect, showing what he might have looked like at 25, the statement says.

In April, police obtained DNA from Chirila’s son, who lives in California, the arrest warrant shows.

Police were able to arrest Chirila after obtaining a warrant to collect a DNA sample from him that allegedly matches the blood found on the towel, the arrest warrant says.

Chirila is in custody in Reno. He has not yet entered a plea. It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

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