Salt Lake police have recovered blood and hair samples from a prison inmate being investigated in the death of an elderly Salt Lake woman last August.
A serologist with the State Crime Laboratory took the samples along with assorted items of clothing from an inmate, according to an affidavit filed with a search warrant last week in 3rd Circuit Court.The inmate, who is in Utah State Prison on an escape charge, is being investigated in the death of Ethel Luckau, 88, who was found dead in her home the evening of Aug. 18, the document states.
An autopsy determined that Luckau had been slain, but police refused to say how. All indications, however, point to strangulation.
Luckau's body was found in her home, 357 E. 17th South, by her son-in-law. A mortician notified police after finding suspicious marks on her body.
Police discovered no blatant indications of homicide, assault or forced entry into her home but did find some blood on her pillow, a cut on her arm and swelling in her face and lip.
Detectives questioned the inmate, who was at a halfway house after serving three years in prison for a house burglary, about his whereabouts on Aug. 17. His information differed from the story he gave officials at the halfway house, according to the document.
On Aug. 23, the inmate escaped from the halfway house, remaining at large until his arrest in late October in Seattle.
Shortly after his escape, police recovered hair samples from the inmate's bed at the halfway house. An examination by a state crime lab technician revealed the hairs to be of a "consistent nature" to hairs recovered from the victim, according to the document.
Sgt. Don Bell said the hair samples will be analyzed against hairs found at the scene.
"We should get those results sometime next week," Bell said.