FAIRBANKS, Alaska (TCD) -- A 29-year-old cold case came to a close this week when a 47-year-old man was convicted of killing a girl in a college dorm in 1993.
The Alaska Department of Law announced Feb. 10 that Steven Downs was found guilty of sexually assaulting and murdering 20-year-old Sophie Sergie at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Sergie was reportedly visiting her friend on campus at Bartlett Hall in April 1993, the same dorm that Downs lived in.
According to KTUU-TV, Sergie was discovered by a janitor in the second-floor bathroom in Bartlett Hall on April 26, 1993. She had reportedly been stabbed, choked, shot, and shocked with a stun gun. Sergie was not a student at University of Alaska Fairbanks, but she was there to visit a friend and have an orthodontic procedure.
Sergie's case went cold until 2018 when the Alaska State Troopers Cold Case Unit found Downs using DNA technology, the Alaska Department of Law said in their statement.
In a February 2019 news release, the Department of Public Safety said investigators felt "encouraged" to submit Sergie's DNA to a database following the arrest of the Golden State Killer in 2019, which also used genealogy information to find the suspect. Downs was arrested in Maine and extradited to Alaska. The Department of Law said evidence found at the scene matched Downs' DNA.
Downs will be held without bond until his sentencing in September, according to the Department of Law. He could face up to 129 years in prison.