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Florida woman's cold case murder cracked a quarter century later

A Florida death row inmate suspected in several murders has been charged in the death of a woman found dead by a boater in a gassy area in December 1998.

A suspected serial killer sitting on Florida''s death row has been linked to the cold case killing of a woman whose body was discovered in 1998 by a boater, authorities said Wednesday. 

The Broward County Sheriff's Office said Eileen Truppner was recently identified using DNA evidence. She was found in December 1998 in a grassy area by a boater and was murdered, raped and left for dead, Sheriff Gregory Tony said during a news conference.

"For 20-something years, there has been no closure, no justice for who is now identified as Eileen Truppner, that was our victim," he said. "She is no longer faceless. She is no longer nameless. That is important for us as a community to have that name, and it’s important for the family members."

At the time of the discovery, investigators only had a sketch and Truppner's clothing to go off of. After years, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s genetic genealogy unit helped track down DNA of three of Truppner's sisters.

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Truppner moved in the 90s from Puerto Rico to Miami to take English classes, her sister, Nancy Truppner told reporters. She had children but became depressed and lost custody of them, her sister said. Truppner eventually lost touch with everyone around August 1998.

"She had the first child, and she [suffered from] postpartum depression," Nancy Truppner said. "When the second child, having the child so fast, it was devastating. The depression was worse."

While investigating the case, detectives suspected serial killer Roberto Wagner Fernandes, who was eventually linked to three homicides, Fox Tampa reported. 

However, Truppner's DNA was eventually linked to Lucious Boyd, a suspected serial killer. A grand jury indicted him last week for Truppner's death. He faces charges of first-degree murder and sexual battery. 

Boyd was previously sentenced to death for the killing of 21-year-old Dawnia Dacosta, who was killed about two weeks before Truppner, authorities said. Investigators theorized that Boyd most likely took advantage of Truppner's mental health struggles when he allegedly killed her.

Dacosta had run out of gas on her way home from a midnight church service. She walked to a gas station to fill up a canister when she crossed paths with Boyd who offered to give her a ride. Her body was later found wrapped in sheets and a plastic shower curtain behind a warehouse. 

Boyd is also suspected in several other murders, investigators said. 

"We strongly believe he's a serial killer," one detective said. 

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