Suspect charged in woman's murder after 16 years

ATHENS, Ga. — After a DNA match, a man has been arrested and charged with a woman's murder that happened nearly 16 years ago.

The victim, Pamela Crisler was stabbed to death in her Athens apartment in August 2002.

The suspect in Crisler's killing remained on the run for over a decade until forensic science caught up with him. Investigators arrested and charged 34-year-old Salaam Laroche in the murder.


Few who live in the apartment complex where Crisler died knew she was a substance abuse counselor and knew the grim details of her violent death.

"Cause of death was multiple sharp injuries, resulting from someone being stabbed to death," said Sgt. David Norris, Athens-Clark County Police Department.

Detectives worked tirelessly to track down leads, but weeks stretched into months, and months stretched into years.

"Cases that are stranger to stranger are harder to solve," said Norris.

With years of dead-ends, a break came out of nowhere.

Last November, DeKalb police arrested Laroche for a minor, non-violent crime. He had to submit a DNA sample as a condition for his release, and a week later, investigators were able to match the suspect's DNA with the DNA taken from the crime scene nearly 16 years ago.

"We are very excited we got this new lead," said Norris.

The suspect is behind bars and could face more charges.