NRH police say 19-year-old cold-blooded suspect was found dead in Oklahoma
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A 19-year-old suspect in the North Richland Hills police shooting has been identified.
Police officer Jeff Garner was shot on March 3, 2003, after trying to stop a man who had just robbed a bank in Watauga. The suspect has remained large since then.
In 2015, Detective Erik Whitlock of the North Richland Hills Police was assigned to investigate and began reviewing the evidence. Based on analysis, officials say the suspect is believed to be involved in seven bank robberies between 1998 and 2003.
In 2018, North Richland Hills police submitted DNA evidence to Parabon Nanolabs – a DNA phenotype analysis service – to conduct further examination of the suspect’s profile.
Through testing, it was determined that the DNA profile of an unidentified male did not match a specific suspect. A sketch was later provided by Parabon and shared publicly; however, no new leads come from it.
The case cools down again.
In 2019, Detective Whitlock submitted DNA data to the International Identification Company for forensic genetic genealogy testing.
Detective Whitlock was informed in December 2021 that their suspect was Mark Alan Long based on shared DNA matches identified on GEDmatch, a public DNA comparison platform.
A few months later, in February 2022, undercover detectives traveled to Oklahoma to begin tracking Long and obtaining his DNA from items he used at a restaurant. The items were submitted for forensic examination along with evidence previously collected in three other bank robberies, officials said.
Long matched DNA collected from those three bank robberies.
In early April, a search warrant for Long’s home, vehicle and a Jeep owned by Long was believed to have been used in the Watauga bank robbery.
During the search, officials found a revolver in Long’s home that matched the description of the weapon used to shoot Officer Garner.
Officials said the pistol was sent for ballistics processing and returned as a match with evidence gathered from Garner’s shooting. “Long’s old Jeep also had the bodywork repaired on the back door—matching the bullet hole, and” hence the return gunshot wound made by Officer Garner on the Jeep driver, officials said. “the officials said.
Long was charged with knowingly killing a peace officer, aggravated robbery, and two counts of robbery with a total bond of $675,000.
As detectives tracked down Long to execute a wanted warrant, they learned that he had been found dead near a cell tower southeast of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Officials said while evidence from the investigation into Long’s death leads detectives to believe he took his life, the final verdict on the cause of his death will be up to the Medical Examiner. offered by the faculty of Oklahoma.