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DNA Ties Man to 1995 Murder of Bridesmaid in His Wedding

Clayton Foreman is accused of killing teacher Mary Catherine Edwards in Beaumont, Texas
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2021 8:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – Thanks to DNA evidence, an Ohio man has been arrested and charged with murder, 26 years after a woman who served as a bridesmaid in his wedding was brutally killed in her Texas townhouse. Mary Catherine Edwards, a 31-year-old teacher who lived alone in Beaumont, was last seen on Jan. 13, 1995, reports 12News. When her parents couldn't reach her by phone the next day, they headed to her home and found her drowned in an upstairs bathtub. But it wasn't an accidental death: Her hands were cuffed behind her back, and her head had been shoved into the water, per KJAS. Authorities later determined she'd been sexually assaulted before she was killed. The case soon went cold. But in early 2020 police started to make headway after entering DNA from the crime scene into GEDmatch, a public DNA database, reports the Beaumont Enterprise.

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Authorities were able to ID second cousins and other distant relatives of the suspect, and they started building a family tree, eventually using all of that evidence to narrow down their possibilities to Clayton Bernard Foreman and his brother. Foreman's brother had no rap sheet, but Foreman himself had pleaded guilty to the 1981 rape of a classmate. And there were striking similarities between that assault and Edwards' murder—notably, they'd both been sexually assaulted with their hands restrained behind their backs. Both women were also former classmates of Foreman, with Edwards having been a bridesmaid in Foreman's 1982 wedding to his first wife. Investigators managed to get DNA evidence directly from Foreman, 61, by collecting trash outside his Ohio home. It was a match, and he was arrested April 29 in Franklin County. Beaumont prosecutors and law enforcement are now working on getting him extradited. (Read more murder stories.)

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