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DNA links Death Row convict to 1998 rape and murder of Broward woman, BSO says

A 41-year-old Broward woman was brutally raped and murdered in the late ‘90s. Decades later, her killer was identified as a Florida Death Row inmate behind bars for raping and murdering another woman, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

For years, the woman was known as Jane Doe, with only the face of a police sketch. A boater found her body in a grassy area off U.S. 27 in southwest Broward near Interstate-75 in December 1998, shortly after she was sexually assaulted and murdered.

Earlier this year, BSO investigators, using DNA evidence, identified the victim as Eileen Truppner. On Tuesday, BSO said detectives with the agency’s cold case unit arrested Lucious Boyd, 64, using DNA evidence linking him to Truppner’s death. Boyd raped and killed her about two weeks after he did the same to another woman, BSO said.

“For 20-something years there had been no closure, not justice for who is now identified as Eileen Truppner,” Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony told reporters during a news conference at the agency’s headquarters. “She is no longer faceless; she is no longer nameless.”

Nancy Truppner, who spoke to reporters Tuesday, remembers her sister Eileen as a kind woman, a young professional who moved to South Florida from Puerto Rico to take English classes.

“Even though this happened a while ago, the wound is open,” Nancy said. “It hurts, and it hurts like it was yesterday.”

A screenshot from a video showing a photo of Eileen Truppner, right, with sister Nancy Truppner, left. Broward Sheriff's Office
A screenshot from a video showing a photo of Eileen Truppner, right, with sister Nancy Truppner, left. Broward Sheriff's Office

How was Truppner killed?

In the evening hours of Dec. 18, 1998, Boyd — then 39 — dragged Truppner to an isolated area of U.S. 27, about a mile north of Interstate 75, where he raped and murdered her, detectives say.

Truppner’s body was discovered by a boater on a weekend family outing in a grassy area off U.S. 27 in southwest Broward. Investigators believe she died by strangulation no more than three days before she was found.

But investigators didn’t have much to go by other than her clothing and a sketch of her. Detectives canvassed the few establishments in the area with no results. They also searched missing persons’ databases to no avail. The crime scene was in a remote location without cameras around.

Without witnesses, leads, or even her name, the case turned cold and she became a Jane Doe.

Lucious Boyd, 63, is accused of killing and raping Eileen Truppner, 41, in Broward County in 1998, the Broward Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. He is on Florida’s Death Row for the rape and murder of another Broward woman shortly before Truppner’s death. Florida Department of Corrections
Lucious Boyd, 63, is accused of killing and raping Eileen Truppner, 41, in Broward County in 1998, the Broward Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. He is on Florida’s Death Row for the rape and murder of another Broward woman shortly before Truppner’s death. Florida Department of Corrections

How did detectives find Truppner’s killer?

DNA analysis played a crucial role in finding Truppner’s killer, detectives said.

With the help of the forensic genealogy unit of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the DNA results led to the first breakthrough in the case on May 4 — Truppner’s name. Her story was the focus of the fourth episode of BSO’s “Open and Unsolved” cold case series.

Advancements in DNA testing technology helped crime lab detectives to connect Truppner’s and Boyd’s DNA. His DNA had been collected as evidence in the killing of 21-year-old Dawnia Dacosta, who was murdered about two weeks before Truppner.

Dacosta was last seen on Interstate 95 in Broward on Dec. 5, 1998, when her car broke down. Her body was found on Dec. 7, 1998, in the Oakland Park area.

Boyd was convicted of Dacosta’s murder — and sentenced to death — in 2002.

On Nov. 29, a Broward County grand jury indicted Boyd, now 64, for Truppner’s murder. Boyd faces additional first-degree murder and sexual battery charges, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. He is on death row at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford in northern Florida, state prison records show.

“Lucious Boyd’s indictment for Eileen’s homicide is possible due to the collaborative efforts of BSO cold case detectives, crime lab analysts and crime scene investigators,” Sheriff Tony said. “Now, Eileen’s family can put an end to decades of living with uncertainty while detectives continue their mission with one thing in mind — justice has no expiration date.”

Other cases

Boyd has been on police’s radar in several cases, including two that ended in not-guilty verdicts, according to the Miami Herald archives.

In 1993, he was charged with stabbing his ex-girlfriend’s brother to death but was acquitted after claiming self-defense.

In 1998, Boyd was charged with sexual battery for allegedly holding a knife to a prostitute’s throat and forcing her to perform a sex act in his truck. A Broward jury found him not guilty.

An earlier version of this story had an incorrect age for Eileen Truppner when she was murdered.