A cold case involving a man suspected of a string of bank robberies and the 2003 shooting of a North Richland Hills police officer is now closed thanks to new DNA technology.
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS POLICE OFFICER SHOT IN 2003
"While it's inconsequential to any prosecution that won't take place now, 19 years, one month, and nine days later I identified Mark Long in a photo lineup,” Garner said. “I never forgot his face."
DNA UNLOCKS THE COLD CASE IN 2021
The suspect got away and the case went cold until detective Erik Whitlock took the case. He used new resources through DNA testing and genealogy examinations that identified the suspect from Oklahoma.
"On December 14, 2021, we were notified that this individual Mark Alan Long was believed to be the suspect associated with the DNA profiles found at three of the bank robberies at Oklahoma City and Arlington," North Richland Hills Police detective Erik Whitlock said.
Along with DNA, the investigation found Long's truck had tailgate damage from Garner firing back.
They also found the gun that matched ballistic testing.
"That weapon being found in context to him leaving it out in the interview as a weapon he owned got a lot of us excited,” Whitlock said. “That 19 years later he did actually keep the weapon he used in multiple bank robberies and to shoot officer Garner."
MARK ALAN LONG DIES IN OKLAHOMA IN 2022
Mark Alan Long, 60, was found dead Sunday near a cell tower in southeast Oklahoma City, authorities said Wednesday. Authorities say that while they believe he killed himself, a medical examiner will determine his cause of death.
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"He took with him you know things that only he will know,” Whitlock said. “The whys, essentially, why did he do all this?"
But for Garner, the case is closed and for that he's thankful.
"I have come to understand I've been carrying the weight of this for 19 years and I'm eternally grateful for the opportunity to finally set it aside," Garner said.
This was a multi-agency investigation that included the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations Dallas and Oklahoma City field offices.
Through the investigation, Long is believed to be linked to seven bank robberies from 1998 to 2003.