FORESTVILLE, Md. - Nearly three decades after a young biologist was found beaten, raped and strangled to death in Prince George’s County, detectives continue to search for her killer.
The body of Cynthia Rodgers was found alongside a dirt path littered with trash in a wooded area of Forestville five days after she was last heard from in the early morning hours of Super Bowl Sunday in 1989.
When homicide detectives first examined the body of the 27-year-old, they knew immediately a wicked killer was at work.
“It was a very brutal attack. She had multiple blunt force injuries about her upper body and head. She was strangled to death and there were indications she was sexually assaulted as well so it was a very vicious attack, extremely vicious,” cold case detective Bernie Nelson recalled.
Nelson said he believed Cynthia Rodgers was attacked shortly after she left her apartment, perhaps running into her killer on a tree-lined path locals used as a short cut to the store.
"What we believe is it may have been an opportunist and there may have been more than one person involved,” Nelson explained. “We are not absolutely sure it was just one, but it looks like someone who took advantage of the situation. She was a very petite young woman.”
Cynthia Rodgers was described by her family as a free spirit, someone who loved to watch birds and take long walks. She had a college degree and a job as a biologist on the campus of Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in the District.
"Nothing is healed. It's just a big old hole you know,” Rosia Rodgers, Cynthia Rodgers’ mother told FOX 5 back in 2001.
At that time, her daughter had been gone for 12 years and the investigation had gone cold. When FOX 5’s Paul Wagner met with Rosia Rodgers again in February, the "big old hole" she mentioned was still right there.
"It's been too long. We need closure. We need someone to be punched for what they did to my child," she said.
During their investigation, detectives have been able to rule out suspects using DNA recovered from the crime scene, but in order to close the case, Nelson said they need more help.
“The profile that the FBI was able to develop from the sample wasn't strong enough to meet the standards to enter into the database,” Nelson explained. “But it is something we can work with if given the name of someone who we can approach and obtain their DNA and compare it directly to this sample.”
Nelson said investigators had tested the DNA on a few occasions and hoped to test it more.
“I need names and if I can have names then we can run with that and hopefully that will bring someone to justice and answer to what took place," Nelson stated.
If you know anything that could aid detectives in their investigation into the death of Cynthia Rodgers, you are urged to call Prince George's County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477.