San Diego County

Las Vegas Man Faces Murder Charges in 47-Year Cold Case in National City

The suspect is accused of stabbing 22-year-old Christy Ellen Bryant at a 7-Eleven in National City in 1974

Left: Booking photo of murder suspect Carlin Edward Cornett. Right: An undated image of Christy Ellen Bryant.
National City Police Department

A 69-year-old man was arrested for allegedly stabbing to death a National City convenience store clerk nearly half a century ago, police said Thursday.

Carlin Edward Cornett was arrested at his Las Vegas residence for the fatal stabbing of 22-year-old Christy Ellen Bryant 47 years ago, in 1974, according to National City Police.

Cornett was booked into the Las Vegas Detention Center on Tuesday with help from the FBI and Las Vegas police and will be extradited to San Diego to face murder charges, according to National City Investigations Lt. Derek Aydelotte.

On July 31, 1974, Bryant was stabbed to death while working alone at a 7-Eleven that had stood at 702 Highland Ave. in National City; a Domino's Pizza is there now.

The case went cold after exhaustive measures by law enforcement failed to identify the suspect, according to Aydelotte. However, officers at the time collected blood samples at the scene belonging to the suspect even though DNA testing wasn't available keeping the case in circulation for decades.

"Throughout the years, different NCPD detectives looked at the case, but no firm leads were developed," Aydelotte said.

The crime scene from the 1974 stabbing.

This wasn't the fist attempt by law enforcement to hunt down Bryant's assailant through DNA. In 2008, the blood sample was submitted to the San Diego Sheriff's Crime Laboratory and the Combined DNA Index System with hopes of finding Bryant's killer among a pool of possible suspects.

"The DNA profile from the blood evidence remained in the system and was searched regularly with no hits," Aydelotte said.

Then, eight years after National City police teamed up with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, and after serious advancements in forensic technology had been made, Cornett was identified thanks to the work of an in-house genealogist of the Cold Homicide and Research Genealogy Effort, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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