RICHMOND—Authorities announced on Thursday, April 21, that they identified the suspect responsible for the murder of Meekiah Wadley, 28, whose body was found in her Richmond home back in 1999. 

Officials stated during a press conference that the state’s DNA familial program helped them to locate Wadley’s murderer who was discovered to be Jerry Lee Henderson. Henderson died of a drug overdose just 11 days after the murder. Untested fingernail clippings and ligatures were used to help create a DNA profile. The profile was sent to the United States Department of Justice’s DNA data bank program and from there officials were able to conduct a familial search where they found a relative of Henderson’s.

Officials collected a buccal sample from the relative and were able to confirm that there was a DNA match. 

During the beginning of the investigation, detectives focused on a male suspect that was last seen with the victim before her murder but was later ruled out as a suspect. 

On the night of the murder, authorities were summoned to the 1300 block of Carlson Boulevard after receiving reports of screams heard. According to the report, the screaming took place for about 30 seconds. 

When officers arrived, they found entry into the backdoor of the victim’s home which was found unlocked. Wadley was found lying on her bedroom floor, dead with her hands bound behind her. It was later confirmed that she died by asphyxia due to smothering.