An Oklahoma family may finally be getting closer to justice after investigators in Texas say they solved the cold-case murder of 36-year-old Shonda Alexander.
Alexander, a mother of six, disappeared July 21, 2004. Her body was found a few hours later. She'd been strangled.
Alexander's sister, Della Campbell, lives in Oklahoma. Campbell said Alexander had a difficult life.
"She was so young, she still had time to get her life together, it was taken away from her," Campbell said.
Alexander was honorably discharged from the army. But detectives said her life became difficult when she married a man and moved from Oklahoma City to Houston. After she separated from her husband, investigators said Alexander became addicted to crack cocaine and turned to prostitution.
That's how they believe she ran into Troy McWhorter, who is now charged with her murder.
McWhorter had not been among the original suspects in the initial investigation of Alexander's murder.
But this year, Texas prison officials retrieved a routine DNA sample from McWhorter after he violated probation and was locked up in a theft case. A DNA database matched his genetic material with the DNA found on Alexander's body.
"It sat there from 2004 to 2012 and all of a sudden Mr. McWhorter's swab DNA sample was uploaded to the same data base. Boom, an instant computer hit," Sgt. Bobby Minchew with the Harris County Sheriff's Office said.
McWhorter, who was scheduled to be released from prison next month, now faces capital murder charges. If he convicted, he could face the death penalty.