Sandpoint Police say they have solved a Cold Case dating back to 1987, as DNA evidence determined the alleged murderer of an 18-year-old woman.
Police responded to a report of an unresponsive woman on Jan. 8, 1987 at a south Sandpoint apartment. They located 18-year-old Tammy Bristow deceased, and her cause of death was later determined to be from strangulation.
Investigators noticed no signs of forced entry and said it appeared the suspect may have been familiar with the victim and premises. Detectives determined the motive may have been robbery, as there was money unaccounted for at the scene.
Fred Gauerke was named as the primary suspect and eventually charged with murder. Following a preliminary hearing, prosecuting attorney Phil Robinson reviewed evidence and filed a motion to dismiss charges until further evidence could be collected, but Gauerke remained the primary suspect.
The case was reopened in 2016 as a detective located male DNA on some of the evidence collected. It was sent to the Idaho State Forensic Lab for further testing, where they determined the DNA wasn't a match with Gauerke.
It was entered into the CODIS system and resulted in a match to William Acosta, who was living in Sandpoint at the time of the murder. He was arrested at his current residence in Ponderay, Idaho.
A grand jury was impaneled Thursday, June 27, 2019 and returned with an indictment of first-degree murder. Acosta was taken into custody and is currently held in jail on a $1 million bond.
A press conference regarding this case will be held at the City Council Chambers in Sandpoint at 10 a.m. Friday.