murder victim Lindy Sue Biechler smiling in image from 1975
Today | Lancaster County District Attorney's Office

Murder Suspect Arrested After Vanishing For 46 Years Thanks To Airport Coffee Cup

Police believe they're finally closing the unsolved murder of Lindy Sue Biechler that dates all the way back to 1975 thanks to a little help from an airport coffee cup.

Nothing excites people's curiosity quite like a mystery and if the rise of true crime has taught us anything, it's that it doesn't really matter how morbid that mystery is.

Over the years, some people have proven that no matter how old a cold case is, they're still up to the challenge of solving it.

Granted, not all of these self-proclaimed detectives are successful, but the ones who are managed to spot a small detail that investigators missed in the years or even decades since the crime occurred.

And while those tiny details have proven the innocence of some unfortunate suspects, there are just as many stories of someone who thought they got away only to be undone by what seemed like a minor indiscretion.

In one case, all the suspect had to do to finally get himself caught was enjoy a cup of coffee.

On December 5, 1975, Lindy Sue Biechler's aunt and uncle found her body in her apartment amid what a Pennsylvania district attorney would later describe as a "horrific scene."

murder victim Lindy Sue Biechler smiling in image from 1975
Today | Lancaster County District Attorney's Office

According to Today, evidence suggested that she had been stabbed 19 times but even after dozens of arrests, police grew no closer to finding the person responsible.

Although their hope was renewed in 1997 after the DNA that someone left in Biechler's underwear could be analyzed, no match was found at the time.

But after the case went cold, that DNA was still being examined by geneaology researcher Cece Moore.

coffee cups filled with ready-made grindings in airport café
reddit | SatisfyingDoorstep

And what she determined was that whoever was responsible for Biechler's murder had ancestry in southern Italy. And it turned out that this narrowed things down more than you might expect.

As Moore put it, "There were very few people living in Lancaster that were the right age, gender and had the right family tree."

But when the right match was identified, police surveilled him for months before intercepting a coffee cup the suspect had thrown away at an airport.

The DNA from that cup would belong to 68-year-old David Sinopoli, who was a match for the sample found in Biechler's underwear.

David Sinopoli appearing in document from the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office
twitter | @MikeGorsegner

And up until Moore conducted her research, Sinopoli had never been considered a suspect, as Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said, "No tips ever suggested him."

Reflecting on the data Moore turned over to authorities, Adams added, "Quite honestly, without that I don’t think that we ever would have solved it."

According to Lancaster Online, Sinopoli's only brush with the law up to that point was a 2004 case that saw him plead guilty to invasion of privacy and disorderly conduct after spying on a woman in the tanning room of the boutique he worked at.

But while he was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $100 plus court fees at the time, he's facing much steeper consequences now.

Members of the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office standing next to photo of Lindy Sue Biechler and woman appearing via Zoom at press conference
twitter | @MikeGorsegner

He has been charged with criminal homicide and is being held without bail at Lancaster County Prison.

Although it's unclear what his motive for the slaying would have been at this time, the DNA results were confirmed by analysis of two blood spots found on Biechler's pantyhose.

He has also found to have lived in the same apartment complex as Biechler in 1974.

h/t: Today