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Police: DNA links slain Illinois man to 1982 killing in Iowa

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Posted at 2:09 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 14:09:39-05

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Investigators in Iowa say they used genealogical data to link the 1982 fatal stabbing of a woman to an Illinois trucker who was found shot to death in a shallow grave months later.

Police in Council Bluffs, which sits on Iowa’s western border, said Friday that they believe Thomas O. Freeman killed 32-year-old Lee Rotatori at a local hotel in June of 1982.

Rotatori, who had just moved to Council Bluffs from Nunica, Michigan, was stabbed once and was sexually assaulted.

Police didn't have any suspects after the killing, but they submitted DNA evidence to a lab that determined last year that it was Freeman's.

He was found dead in a shallow grave near Cobden, Illinois, in October of 1982.