DNA from cigarette butt led to arrest in 38-year-old Odessa cold case

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 3:32 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - New details have been revealed on the arrest of a suspect connected with a 38-year-old cold case in Odessa.

Odessa police have released the arrest affidavit for Bill Wayne Ludwigson, 58. Ludwigson is charged with the murder of Velma Nesset back in 1982.

Nesset was murdered in a drainage ditch next to the Permain Mall (Music City Mall), where she worked. A coworker told police that they had seen a white man with dark, wavy, neck length hair walking near the area Nesset was found.

In 2007 a forensic examination was performed on Nesset’s clothing, which found a semen stain, but no DNA matches were immediately found.

In July of this year, authorities identified Ludwigson as a potential suspect. Ludwigson had been arrested twice within weeks of Nesset’s murder. Booking photos from those arrests matched the description of the suspect police obtained during their initial investigation.

Later that month, authorities began surveillance of Ludwigson, who now lives in Colorado. During this surveillance, Ludwigson smoked a cigarette and left the butt in front of a bench he was sitting at.

The butt was recovered and submitted to a laboratory for a DNA test. The DNA profile from the butt matched the sample taken from the stain.

Authorities are now waiting for Ludwigson to be extradited to Odessa.

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