Case Studies
Carla Lowe Murder Case: A Mystery That Took 4 Decades to Resolve

Carla Lowe Murder Case: A Mystery That Took 4 Decades to Resolve

Carla Lowe, a 21 years old lady, was found dead in the middle of Depot Avenue, near the Amtrak station. She was brutally beaten and run over. In November 1983, Carla Lowe waited for the train at the Amtrak station in Delray Beach, Fla. However, she never boarded the train from Pompano Beach.

Detectives said at the time they searched the area for hours but never found anyone who had seen or heard anything suspicious. Since then the case has been a mystery.

After almost four decades, there has been a break in this cold case with the help of new fingerprint technology. On 29th November 2021, the Delray Beach Police arrested Ralph Williams (59) for the killing of Carla Lowe. He has been charged with first-degree murder.

On the day she was found, Ralph Williams was taken into custody on grand theft auto and burglary charges, but they couldn’t connect him to Lowe’s murder. William’s criminal record shows more than 20 arrests across Florida, on charges like burglary, resisting an officer with violence, and robbery with a gun or deadly weapon among others. With no relationship between Lowe and Williams and no known motive, detectives needed some solid evidence. 

The investigators said that the new fingerprint technology has led them to Williams. A new cold case division within the department of Delray Beach Police was created in January 2021, to deal with such cold cases. Carla Lowe’s murder mystery is the first case solved by the division, since its creation.

Delray Beach Police Chief Javaro Sims said during a news conference “This is the exact reason why the cold-case position was initiated earlier this year. To help bring some level of closure to the families who have lost any hope of justice for their losses.” 

Detective Todd Clancy, the leader of Delray Beach’s cold-case unit said that the new technology from a company based in England helped investigators obtain fingerprints from a piece of evidence that was left at the scene.

He added, “We weren’t able to get this fingerprint in the old traditional way that a crime scene would get fingerprints. There’s a new process out there by the Foster & Freeman company based out of the UK, and they have a new machine out there and it’s able to get a fingerprint.” Clancy worked with former detectives from the department on the case, adding the new technology is what helped them find the suspect.

He thanked the former detectives of the case by saying, “I would also like to thank the detectives who worked this case in 1983 because they deserve most if not all the recognition. If it wasn’t for their documentation and hard work back in 1983, we would not have all the information that we have today.” However, the detectives had not elaborated on how they found the fingerprint.

Lowe’s sister, Jackie Lowe-Repass, said of Williams’ arrest, “It means everything to me. I’ve waited for this . He took a very beautiful person out of this world … There’s a name now to who did this to my sister. I just want the world to know Carla was a good person and just wasn’t a piece of trash that someone threw away. She was a very beautiful and giving person”

Foster+freeman is a fingerprint detection-based company in the UK that uses new technologies for detecting and identifying latent fingerprints. Foster+Freeman fingerprint imaging workstations provide comprehensive facilities for the detection, capture, and enhancement of fingerprints on any surface or background to ensure that maximum detail is revealed.

It has three main components- Multispectral and Directional Illumination, Hi-Resolution Image Capture, and Digital Enhancement Software. The system captures an image of high resolution which is enhanced digitally. The use of software makes the process fully automated and accurate.

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