How The 1984 Murder Of Mary Jane Thompson Was Finally Solved

On February 13, 1984, authorities were called to a warehouse on Irving Boulevard in the Stemmons Corridor of northwest Dallas, Texas. As reported by The Dallas Morning News, the body of a young woman was found near the railroad tracks behind the warehouse, and it appeared that she had been murdered.

Detectives eventually identified the victim as 21-year-old Mary Jane Thompson. The Dallas Morning News reports they also confirmed she was sexually assaulted and strangled with her own leg warmers. Although evidence, including bodily fluids, was collected during an autopsy, DNA technology was not available at the time. However, the evidence was well preserved and would end up being crucial in eventually solving the case.

On her Facebook page, Thompson's sister, Selena Tomasello, said Thompson had dreamed of being a model since she was a little girl. She also recalled the last time she saw her sister.

One last Christmas

Prior to moving to Dallas, Mary Jane Thompson lived in Los Angeles, California, and Houston, Texas. However, before leaving her hometown, she had one last Christmas with her sisters. Selena Tomasello said Thompson got her a stereo system and got their sister Kathie a portable stereo called a boom box. 

The girls did not realize it was Thompson who purchased the gifts until she had moved away, but they were thankful that she made sure they had a special holiday together. Tomasello said she "will always remember" her last Christmas with her sister.

As reported by The Dallas Morning News, Thompson moved to Dallas only six months before she was killed. At the time of her death, Thompson was working at a florist shop and a local restaurant. Tomasello said her sister was working two jobs to help pay for acting and modeling classes, which she hoped would help her break into the industry.

No leads on the Mary Jane Thompson murder

On February 11, 1984, Mary Jane Thompson took a bus to the Trinity Medical Clinic, which was located on the former Industrial Boulevard, according to The Dallas Morning News. However, she was unable to be seen, as the clinic was closed. Authorities could not verify Thompson's whereabouts from the time she left the clinic until her body was discovered behind the warehouse two days later.

Although they did find some evidence at the scene, authorities never identified a suspect in the brutal sexual assault and murder. The case went cold and law enforcement officials, as well as Thompson's family, began to lose hope.

For years the case seemed to be going nowhere. But, in 2009, the Dallas Police Department decided to reopen Thompson's case and subsequently submitted the previously collected evidence for DNA testing. However, the lab was only able to confirm the killer was an unknown male.

DNA identifies a suspect 38 years later

As the DNA profile compiled in 2009 did not match anyone, the Mary Jane Thompson case went cold again. CBS News reports that as authorities were unable to identify a suspect the case remained unsolved for another nine years.

But, in 2018, the Dallas Police Department opened Thompson's case once again. This time, though, they also sought assistance from the district attorney's office and the FBI in their quest to identify a suspect and finally bring the family some closure.

DNA profiles from unknown suspects are traditionally compared with criminal databases. Unfortunately, only a limited number of criminals are included in those databases. In recent years, authorities have found genealogical databases to be helpful when a suspect's DNA is not available on criminal databases. By searching genealogical databases, CBS News reports authorities only need to find a relative to eventually lead them to a suspect.

Edward Morgan arrested in 2022

In a press release, dated February 18, 2022, the Dallas County District Attorney's office announced they were able to determine that the DNA kept since Mary Jane Thompson's 1984 murder belonged to a man named Edward Morgan. According to the release, Morgan was subsequently arrested and charged with one count of capital murder.

As reported by Law & Crime, Morgan is currently being held in the Dallas County Jail while he awaits trial. His bond was set at $500,000 and he is facing the death penalty if convicted.

Upon hearing about Morgan's arrest, Thompson's sister Selena Tomasello posted a response on her Facebook page. Tomasello said she was thrilled to finally get the call she had been waiting 38 years for. She said she knows Thompson is "looking down ... and happy that they finally got him." She said she was also happy someone was finally arrested and that she plans to attend Morgan's trial. Tomasello hopes Morgan "will be in jail for the rest of his life."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).