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Published: Thursday, 8/30/2007

Body in Whiteford Township exhumed for DNA in unsolved North Carolina slaying

MONROE - Police officers from North Carolina traveled to a Whiteford Township cemetery yesterday to exhume the remains of a man suspected as the killer in a 28-year-old unsolved murder case.

DNA samples were taken from the remains of Larry Chappell, who died in 1989 at age 51, and is suspected of having killed Tammy Sue Aldridge, a 19-year-old jogger who was abducted in 1979 in Alamance County, North Carolina, Detective Sgt. David Meyer of the Michigan State Police Monroe post, said.

Ms. Aldridge's bound, strangled body was found along a road after her disappearance, and there was evidence of sexual assault, the sergeant said.

Mr. Chappell, who lived in that part of North Carolina at the time, was considered a suspect but there was insufficient evidence at the time to charge him, Sergeant Meyer said.

Mr. Chappell moved to the Toledo area to be closer to relatives. His only connection to Monroe County is his burial in the Whiteford Union Cemetery.

The samples taken from Mr. Chappell's body will be analyzed in North Carolina and compared with DNA samples taken from the murder victim, Sergeant Meyer said.

If the samples match, the case will be considered closed, he said.

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