Second Michigan murder suspect arrested in fatal kidnapping of young woman

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Michigan authorities have arrested a second man in connection with the 1980 murder of 21-year-old Karen Umphrey.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office announced Clair on Feb. 8 that Anthony Harris, 63, was arrested in connection with Umphrey’s murder – about two months after Douglas Laming, 70, was arrested in the same case.

“Working with the Michigan State Police and Othram, a company that specializes in forensic genetic genealogy, information was found that would have been impossible to find before,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release in the December 2023 announcing Laming’s arrest. “From there, St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office investigators spoke with many people who were connected to the suspect and who was involved more than 40 years ago , gathering information and making vital connections.”

Umphrey was found dead in the State Game Area in Beards Hills, near Port Huron, on the morning of Nov. 2, 1980, according to the sheriff’s office.

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Karen Umphrey

Karen Umphrey, 21, was found dead in the Beards Hills State Game Area, near Port Huron, on the morning of November 2, 1980. (DNASolves.com)

The 21-year-old had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend in the early morning hours of Nov. 2, according to The Port Huron Times-Herald. Her boyfriend reportedly started walking home, so Umphrey parked her car and started following him.

Around 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 2, a driver called Port Huron police and reported seeing a woman being forced into a truck.

Later that day, hunters found Umphrey’s body about 600 feet from the road with two gunshot wounds to the head, The Port Huron Times-Herald reported, citing investigators.

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Douglas Laming's photo

Douglas Laming, 70, was arrested in connection with the murder of Karen Umphrey in December 2023. (St. Clair County Sheriff)

Authorities were unable to identify suspects at the time, and the case went cold for four decades.

In 2022, the Michigan State Police (MSP) sent evidence collected from the crime scene to Othram, a forensic genetic genealogy company that specializes in solving unsolved murder cases. Scientists found a match, and authorities arrested Laming a year later.

“At the time, it was not publicly announced that DNA belonging to another contributor had been found at the crime scene,” read a blog post on DNA Solves, a database owned by Othram.

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In 2023, MSP submitted additional DNA evidence to Othram, and “a second DNA profile of the second suspect was developed using Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing®.”

Anthony Harris photo

Anthony Harris, 63, was arrested in connection with the February 8 murder of Karen Umphrey. (St. Clair County Sheriff)

“The forensic genetic genealogy team within Othram used the genealogy profile to produce new search leads,” a blog post said. “The lines were returned [MSP] who continued their investigative work with officers of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department. Clair to identify the second suspect in Karen Umphrey’s murder. This follow-up investigation led to the identification of Anthony Harris, 63.

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Laming and Harris are both charged with open murder.

A court in St. Clair posted a $2 million bond for each suspect, and Laming has a hearing scheduled for February 20.

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