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Updated Jun 18, 2014 - 6:25 pm

DNA helps Phoenix police make arrest in cold-case murder

Laura Hunding (Phoenix Police Department Photo)

PHOENIX -- Police said they have a suspect in the stabbing death of a Phoenix woman that occurred almost 25 years ago.

Phoenix police said Wednesday that 58-year-old Cudellious Love was in custody and charged in the murder of Laura Hunding.

Laura Hunding had gone to the AA event on the night of July 15, 1989, and returned home early the next morning. The 27-year-old's landlord discovered her body in her Phoenix apartment a day later, police said.

She had been stabbed in the chest and abdomen, and authorities believe she was sexually assaulted, according to court records.

Detectives were recently able to match DNA found at the crime scene with Love, who was arrested Friday.

Detectives then tracked him down and interviewed him in May, during which he denied any involvement in the killing. Additional DNA samples were collected then, and Love was arrested Friday after the new samples confirmed the match to the crime scene, according to court records.

"I cannot say enough about the passion that drives the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department to seek justice for victims and their families," Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia said in announcing the arrest.

Friends and family of Hunding experienced a mix of emotions after hearing the news.

"There's anger but relief that the closure could actually happen," said Kathryn Johnson, a friend of Hunding. "The grief didn't die in the 25 years since this happened. Bringing closure to us can absolutely bring hope to other families of innocent victims like Laura's. There's going to be justice served more often."

Love's arrest comes as part of an effort by the Phoenix Police Department to solve more than 2,500 open cold cases with a staff of six detectives and one sergeant. Officials say they close about 15 cases each year.

KTAR's Jim Cross contributed to this article.

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