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U.S. Marshals in Nebraska Use DNA Evidence to Close 55-Year-Old Cold Case

For immediate release

Matt Westover, Deputy U.S. Marshal

District of Nebraska
(402) 501-6741

Omaha, NE – U.S. Marshals in Nebraska using DNA evidence have closed the fugitive investigation of a case dating back to 1967.  

Almost 10 years before, William Leslie Arnold, who was 16 at the time, killed his parents, buried them in the backyard of his home, and for two weeks went on living as if nothing happened until authorities found him out. He pleaded guilty to the crime and in 1959 was given a life sentence in the Nebraska State Penitentiary.

Although Arnold was reportedly a model prisoner, on July 14, 1967, he and another inmate escaped and went on the run. In Chicago, they went their separate ways. Arnold moved in with a woman and worked for a time in the northwest side of Chicago before moving west to California and then to Australia. The FBI worked the case into the 1990s and then it was handed back down to the Nebraska Department of Corrections, who ultimately delegated it to the U.S. Marshals.

Arnold obtained an alias and was married within three months of escaping, but investigators learned he eventually made his way to Australia, with his second wife, had a family and worked as a businessman until his death in 2010. At that time he had been living under the name John Vincent Damon.

A U.S. Marshals Service investigator recently received the results of a DNA comparison from a sample obtained from an Australian man believed to be Arnold’s son to a sample provided by a family member of Arnold.

The results indicated a match.

"This case is not only a great example of how modern technology helps us solve cases and find people, but it also illustrates the tenacity of this agency in its relentless pursuit of justice," said Scott E. Kracl, U.S. Marshal for the District of Nebraska. "I want to commend the Deputy U.S. Marshals and our law enforcement partners who put in long hours over the years to bring this story to an end."

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at


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