(Forrest City, AR) A cold case solved with DNA. The family of a Forrest City woman may soon have closure.
Tawana Blunt was found raped and strangled 12-years ago.
Forrest City Police had already entered DNA from the crime scene into a national data
base.. and all this time later.. they got a hit.
"It's been 12 years...and being without her...it was hard."
Words are difficult to come by for 14 year old Toikeya Wilson, even on the day police
announce an arrest in the brutal death of her mother...Tawana Blunt.
"This family has been waiting a long time for some justice."
Forrest City Police Chief E.P. Reynolds says DNA evidence connects 44 year old Anthony
Lejuan Johnson with the September 15th 2000 murder of Tawana Blunt.
He is charged with capitol murder, rape and kidnapping,
"The crime scene showed that Tawana was raped, tortured, while in the hands of a then
unknown suspect. after the rape and torture, she was strangled by the suspect...and
Her body was found in the apartment she and her then two year old daughter shared.
Police had no leads until early this year when crime scene DNA, already entered in a
national data base, came back with a possible match on Anthony Johnson.
Johnson was already behind bars in Indiana on assault charges when authorities there
took additional DNA samples.
Chief Reynolds says Johnson questioned why authorities wanted his DNA,
"And when they told him, "this is for Forrest City", they said it looked like he had seen a
ghost. Because this rascal thought he had gotten away with murder."
Tawana's brother Calvin hopes this will bring an end to a 12 year old nightmare,
"I couldn't believe it. the time that I came into reality of what was actually going on was at
the time they opened up the casket and I saw that it was my sister laying there."
Calvin knows nothing will bring back Tawana...he just wants justice for his sister,
"The only thing I want to ask Mr. Johnson is , "why?"
Forrest City Police want Anthony Johnson extradited back to Arkansas to face charges.
Meantime, he's being held without bond on the capitol murder charge and ten million
dollars bond each for rape and kidnapping.