Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Cops: DNA test helps lead to arrest in ’78 slaying

Tucson police arrested a man suspected of strangling a 56-year-old bookkeeper in his bedroom 30 years ago, an agency spokesman said.

The man arrested – Boyd G. Johns, 48 – was linked to the slaying through a newly processed DNA sample, Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said. He would not say what the sample was.

Johns had been in prison since August 2006 for an aggravated DUI conviction in Maricopa County, the Department of Corrections Web site said.

He was being held in Pima County Jail without bond Tuesday, a jail clerk said. He was charged with first-degree murder, she said.

Johns’ arrest was the result of a cold case investigation that re-examined the death of Marion Van Bibber, 56, who was found dead in his house Oct. 2, 1978, Pacheco said.

Citizen archives show that Van Bibber, a bookkeeper for Pima Welding Supply, was discovered face-up in his bedroom with an electric cord around his neck. His employer was checking on him after Van Bibber failed to show for work.

Pacheco said the employer entered through the unlocked front door. There were no signs of forced entry, he said.

Witnesses saw one or two men driving Van Bibben’s yellow pickup from his house at 4502 S. 11th Ave., archives show.

That vehicle was later found abandoned in La Puente, Calif., where Johns has family, Pacheco said.

Before the DNA evidence that matched Johns was processed, police had no suspects, Pacheco said.

“It is an example of how technology helps solve cases,” he said.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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