The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office has announced the resolution of a 51-year-old cold case murder involving the abduction, rape, and murder of 9-year-old Debbie Lynn Randall. The young girl disappeared on January 13, 1972, while walking home from a laundromat near her residence in Marietta, Georgia. Her remains were discovered 16 days later.
Authorities have identified William B. Rose, who was 24 years old at the time of the crime, as the suspect in Randall’s killing. Rose, who resided in Mableton, Georgia, took his own life two years after the heinous act. The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office named him as the suspect after investigators exhumed his body and linked his DNA to the crime scene evidence.
The breakthrough in the case came through recent advancements in genetic genealogy technology. Investigators were able to identify a familial DNA profile from a distant relative of Rose, who had uploaded their DNA to a public website. This profile was then linked to the DNA found at the crime scene, ultimately leading to the identification of Rose as the perpetrator.
During a press conference, Cobb County DA Flynn D. Broady Jr. expressed gratitude for the dedication and persistence of the Cold Case Unit and partner agencies in providing closure to the Randall family. Melvin Randall, Debbie’s brother, also spoke, expressing relief that the case has finally been resolved after decades of unanswered questions.
The Marietta Police Department was commended for their meticulous efforts in collecting and preserving evidence from the crime scene. Investigators determined that Rose had family members residing in the same apartment complex as the victim, suggesting that he may have targeted her as a crime of opportunity.