The police of Delray Beach, in Florida, could finally close the investigation of the death of Sondra Better, murdered in 1998 at 68 years old. Todd Barket never had any problems with the police. His record shows only some minor traffic infractions.
At 51, he applied for a job in a cleaning company, which carried out the usual background check. Nobody imagined that the process would lead to the arrest of the applicant for a brutal homicide.
Police in Delray Beach, Florida, were finally able to close the investigation into the murder of Sondra Better, murdered in 1998 at 68, just days before renewing her marriage vows. He had resigned and had only a few more days of work left when his body was stabbed and beaten to death.
The police investigated the body and found the suspect’s DNA at the scene of the crime. “We had fingerprints, we had blood and even a possible description of a witness, but the person responsible for this heinous crime seemed to have disappeared,” Delray Beach police interim chief Javaro Sims told a news conference.
After the crime, the fingerprints and blood samples of the murderer had been entered into the national databases, but there were no coincidences. The suspect was a ghost for the police files. The reason for the crime was not even clear.
They were more than 20 years of mystery, in which the widower of Sondra died without answers and the daughters of the couple accumulated press clippings about the case, without being able to close the wound.
Last December, Barket sent his fingerprints for a background check for a cleaning company. A month later, the prints were checked in the database and… bingo. There was a coincidence. The police also said that the subject fit the description of a witness.
Detectives and Florida police agents located him and began to follow in his footsteps. The police later obtained their DNA and on Tuesday it was proved that it also corresponded with the one found at the crime scene. There was no doubt about his relationship with the crime.
“It’s amazing that he did not have any contact with the police, he flew under the radar all this time, and the 26 years prior to the crime,” said Capt. John Crane-Baker.
Robert Stevens, a police detective from Delray Beach had investigated the case for a decade before retiring. He was the one chosen to give the news to Sondra’s daughters, and it was also emotional for him.
“It felt very good, there were some tears, some joy, and it will close your story,” he said.
For his part, Sims commented: “It took us 20 years, it’s a long time claiming justice for a loved one.”