Mike Little was 7 when a knife-wielding assailant killed his 19-year-old half sister, Lindy Sue Biechler, a vibrant, happy newlywed who he still considers “maybe the most beautiful person I ever knew.”
Almost 44 years later, the killer continues to elude justice, but Little, 50, is pleased that investigators haven’t given up, turning to DNA technology that was unheard of in 1975, when Biechler was sexually assaulted and stabbed 19 times in her Manor Township apartment.
On Thursday, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman released composite sketches of a fair-skinned, hazel-eyed man, possibly of southern European ancestry.
The scientific approximation of the killer’s features — both at age 25 and age 65 — were elicited from crime scene DNA.
Cold case investigators hope to hear from people who know someone resembling the figure in the sketch. If so, Stedman said, they will pursue the leads and try to bring closure for Biechler’s family and friends.
Stedman’s office said Friday that tips have started to come in and are being looked at.
Little, in a phone interview from Singapore, where he works in the defense industry, said investigators over the years have kept him informed of developments, and he was excited by their decision to engage Virginia-based Parabon NanoLabs for DNA phenotyping, which can predict the appearance of an unknown person.
“It’s reassuring that (the case is) still on their minds,” Little said. “Obviously, the demands on the District Attorney’s office are probably astronomical. I’m excited that the DA’s office has the resources and energy to commit to pursuing this.”
Little was too young to get to know his half sister well. They shared the same father, but Biechler lived with her mother after her parents divorced.
Little remembers Biechler as an occasional baby-sitter and lively presence at holidays.
“When she was there, you wanted to be around her,” Little said.
In 2007, Little took the initiative for a billboard on Route 30, near Route 283, that sought to reignite interest in both his half sister’s case and that of Christy Mirack, who was killed in her apartment in 1992.
Investigators solved Mirack’s slaying last year with a DNA match after a close female relative of the killer uploaded her DNA to a genealogy website. Raymond Rowe pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence.
That tactic has not worked in Biechler’s case, possibly because websites, citing privacy concerns, now make far fewer DNA uploads available to criminal investigators.
But Biechler said that setback doesn’t discourage him, because over time more people will share their DNA online, increasing the odds of a hit.
“I don’t view this as a beginning or an end,” Little said. “It’s just part of the path.”