LMPD: DNA solves another cold case

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) -LMPD solved another cold case, which happened 14 years ago.  Officers credit DNA.  On October 4, 1995, police found 30-year-old Debra Wright dead inside her apartment on Portland Avenue.  For 14 years, officers didn't have a suspect until now.  Officers charged Brian Sturgeon with Wright's murder.

Sturgeon is in South Carolina charged in another murder case there.

Nadine Uphold, Debra Wright's mother, never imagined police would find a suspect after so many years.  "Just when you think it's never going to happen --it happens," Uphold said.

Uphold spoke about the past 14 years.  She described them as tough and depressing.  "You never forget and you never give up hope that somebody will catch 'em," Uphold said.

LMPD officers linked Sturgeon to the murder after his DNA was entered into a national DNA database.  Police got a hit.  "Glad they're finally able to use something like that to solve cases like this," David Uphold said.  David Uphold is Debra Wright's older brother.

Sturgeon was once considered a person of interest in the case, but his relationship with Wright was never clear.  Officers did know both used drugs.  Wright's family spoke openly about Debra's lifestyle.  Nadine Uphold said her daughter was addicted to cocaine.  At first, David Uphold thought her addiction would become a factor, during the investigation.  "We thought that when it happened, they thought she's just another person off the street that they really didn't care about," David explained.  But, he's thankful people never stopped searching for his sister.

Wright's family is glad detectives never gave-up trying to find Debra's killer.  They thank the national DNA database and the 'Cold Case Grant' the LMPD uses.  "There's a lot of them they've solved so far now and mines just 1 more," Nadine Uphold said.

Uphold said the chances of her daughter changing her lifestyle died on October 4, 1995, but that hope she had of finding the person responsible never did.  She encourages other cold case victim families never to give up.  "I hope that people that realize that's going through the same thing as me, won't give up hope 'cause it's been 14 year almost and I never gave up," Uphold said.

The Commonwealth's Attorney is going to take a look at the case and decide what happens next.  The outcome also depends on Sturgeon's South Carolina murder trail.