Boise Police detectives solve decades-old cold case

July 7, 2023

The Boise Police Department (BPD) is announcing a major update after reopening a cold case from 1987.

DNA evidence shows the suspect responsible for the death of Joyce Casper in Boise in 1987 is Frank A Rodriguez.  Rodriguez passed away in 2007 but with this new information, BPD can give closure to the Casper family and is working with law enforcement agencies around the country to see if Rodriguez is connected to any other unsolved investigations.

“Members of BPD’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) have spent years working to identify the person responsible for the death of Joyce Casper and close this investigation once and for all for Joyce’s family,” said Captain Matt Jones. “Justice has been a long time coming and we are proud and grateful to finally be able to give them some answers.”

On the morning of Tuesday, October 13, 1987, 65-year-old Joyce Casper was found deceased in her car near Day Drive and Robert Street. Casper owned Casper’s Vista Hallmark Shop located nearby in the Vista Village Shopping Center and was known to work late in her shop.  Detectives at the time found evidence that Casper had been abducted outside of her business in the early morning hours, sexually assaulted, and then murdered.

As part of the initial investigation, detectives looked into a report that Joyce made two to three weeks before the murder happened. Joyce reported that a male assailant had attempted to assault her at her business.  After a brief altercation between the two, he ran away from the shop heading eastbound. She described to officers that the suspect was likely between the ages of 17 and 25 with slicked-back black hair. Boise Police investigators searched for clues that would lead to identifying the person responsible, but no suspect was arrested for the assault or the murder.

Over the years several detectives from BPD’s Violent Crimes Unit and Special Victims Unit worked to move the case forward.  In 2017, two detectives began working full-time on the investigation and using new technology were able to develop new information. BPD sent DNA gathered at the scene of the crime in 1987 to a company called Parabon Nanolabs. Using the DNA, Parabon Nanolabs generated a computer profile of the suspect. Detectives were hopeful that this profile would lead to identifying the person responsible for the homicide and they released a computer-generated profile to the public in October of 2017. The DNA test findings indicated that the suspect’s DNA would match a male Latino, possibly from Puerto Rico or Colombia.  The DNA results also indicated he had brown or hazel eyes and brown or black hair.  Unfortunately, again, no suspect was ever identified.

In 2019, the case was re-assigned to another detective, who enlisted the help of another genetic genealogy company, Identifinders. Between 2019 and 2023 BPD’s detective enlisted the help of Identifinders and detectives from all over the country to conduct interviews, locate people, and set up DNA swabs, and through that, the detective was able to narrow the family line down to a specific family tree. In 2023 the evidence pointed to a man named Frank A Rodriguez, who died in 2007. Following this discovery, investigators met with the suspect’s family and obtained DNA swabs, which were analyzed and proved through genetics that Frank A Rodriguez was the suspect.

“The Boise Police Department would like to recognize the efforts of all involved in this complex investigation,” said Captain Jones. “While nothing can bring back their lost loved one, we are proud that after 36 years and countless hours of investigation, we were able to bring some form of closure to the Casper family.”

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

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