LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Police Tuesday said a DNA match has led to a murder warrant in a Sugar Hill cold case.
Authorities believe 26-year-old Gerson Salmeron-Diaz beat and stabbed 58-year-old Margaret Binkele in her home on Heather Pines Drive on July 25, 2008. She also suffered severe head trauma, according to police. Her body was found several days after the murder.
The case was cold until March of this year, when authorities received a DNA match related to a sample they collected in the initial murder investigation. That sample, collected with a sexual assault kit during the autopsy, was entered into CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). Investigators got a CODIS "hit" on March 20.
The DNA belonged to Salmeron-Diaz. Police later learned he was Binkele's neighbor at the time of the murder.
While the case was cold, authorities said Salmeron-Diaz had been deported to El Salvador after an unrelated arrest.
Last December, U.S. Park Rangers in Arizona arrested Salmeron-Diaz and five other people transporting about 400 lbs. of marijuana. Police said Salmeron-Diaz was convicted in that case and is serving time at the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, New Mexico.
His DNA was put into CODIS following his drug conviction. In addition, Gwinnett County Cold Case Unit detectives went to New Mexico, interviewed Salmeron-Diaz and collected another DNA sample as confirmation.
He'll face the murder charge in Gwinnett County when he's released from prison, according to Gwinnett Police.