BOYNTON BEACH, FL – On April 27, 1985, a 78-year old female was reported missing to the Lake Worth Police Department at approximately 4:30 PM. At 9:54 PM on the same day, a passerby driving on Old Indiantown Road in Jupiter, Florida discovered the victim lying naked and motionless on the desolate dirt roadway. She was unconscious and her clothing was strewn on the dirt roadway near her body along with her bloodstained dentures. The victim was bleeding profusely from blunt force injuries to her head and face. Deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) responded, secured a crime scene and summoned Crime Scene Technicians and Detectives to investigate the incident. On May 8, 1985 at 5:12 PM, the victim died. An autopsy determined her death as a homicide.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Detective from the Cold Case Homicide Unit conducted a case review and consulted the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab on further processing of DNA evidence. In March of 2021, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Scientist entered a male DNA profile extracted from the victim into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) with the recent emergence of DNA processing technology available to the Crime Lab.
The Florida State CODIS (DNA Database) made an association between the victim’s sexual assault kit and the DNA Offender specimen belonging to Richard Lange, 61, of Boynton Beach. The final step in the confirmation process mandated by the DNA Crime Lab requires investigators to obtain a direct-source DNA sample in the form of saliva swabs from Richard Lange in order to confirm the DNA hit association with the vaginal swabs from the victim.
Richard Lange was 25 years old at the time the murder was committed. Detectives obtained a DNA Confirmation Search Warrant for Lange where Lange’s DNA sample was taken from him at his residence in Boynton Beach, on April 22, 2021. Lange denied knowing or any involvement in the murder of the victim. The DNA sample from Lange was turned into evidence for confirmation processing by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab on the same day at 2:00 pm. On April 22, 2021, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab confirmed the DNA association match between the vaginal swabs of the victim and Richard Lange’s DNA.
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Lange was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on of first degree homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment. Lange should be attending his first appearance in criminal court this morning.