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Florida authorities arrest man in connection to the 1984 murder of a Marine recruit who was ‘beaten and strangled’

Florida law enforcement on Thursday announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the decades-old murder investigation of a Navy recruit who was “beaten and strangled.”
(Seminole County Sheriff’s Office)

Florida law enforcement on Thursday announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the decades-old murder investigation of a Navy recruit who was “beaten and strangled.”

The arrest of Thomas Lewis Garner, 59, on Wednesday came more than 30 years after Pamela Cahanes’ body was found in the side yard of a Sanford, Fla., home in August 1984, a press release from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said.

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Cahanes, a 25 year old at the time, it was discovered “on her knees” and “only dressed in her underwear,” Sheriff Dennis Lemma said, according to Fox 35.

“With the help of genetic genealogy research, the researchers were able to prevent the development of a DNA family tree that finally matches the suspect to the DNA found on the victim,” authorities said in the press release.

The defendant had participated in the Orlando Naval Training Center with Cahanes, the department said.

Garner was taken into custody at his home and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility, according to the press release. He was charged with first-degree premeditated murder and held without bond, according to the arrest report from the sheriff’s office.

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“Literally, he was probably under the belief that he is the way with murder,” Lemma said.

The sheriff praised authorities in the press release for their “persistence” in the case.

“Our hearts go out to Pamela Cahanes’ family members who are steadfast in their quest for justice,” Lemma said.

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