DEVELOPING: Man in custody in Ohio charged with 1995 murder of Beaumont teacher
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DEVELOPING: Investigators reveal DNA evidence, similarities to the rape of a former high school classmate in Beaumont in 1981, and relentless police work, led to the arrest of a man in Ohio now charged with the 1995 murder of his former classmate, Beaumont teacher Mary Catherine Edwards.

District Attorney Bob Wortham tells KFDM/Fox 4 Edwards was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Clayton Bernard Foreman and his first wife.

Former classmates tell KFDM Foreman helped organize the Forest Park High School reunions and attended the last one in 2018. They tell us he was in charge of the reunion tributes to former classmates who died.

They tell he was a thoughtful person and no one would have expected that he'd be charged with Edwards' murder.

Court documents indicate DNA evidence helped crack the case and led to the arrest of Clayton Bernard Foreman, 61, in Franklin County, Ohio, charged with the murder of Mary Catherine Edwards. Police say they both attended Forest Park High School (now West Brook) in Beaumont at the same time.

Jail records indicate he was taken into custody April 29.

Beaumont Police and prosecutors are working to extradite him to Texas.

"I give credit to the Beaumont Police Department and I'm so proud of Chief Jim Singletary and his department for the breakthrough in this cold case," said District Attorney Bob Wortham.

The DPS increased the reward last year for information to help solve the cold case, but investigators say it was relentless work by police and investigators, and DNA, that provided a break in the case.

Edwards, 31, was a beloved teacher who lived alone in Beaumont. She was last seen on the evening of Friday, Jan. 13, 1995. The following day, she didn't respond to phone calls, so her parents went to her west Beaumont townhome on Park Meadow Street to check on her. When they arrived, they found Edwards in her bathroom, with her hands handcuffed behind her back and her head in water in the bathtub. She had been sexually assaulted and killed.

Police traveled to Franklin County, Ohio last week and arrested Foreman.

The Probable Cause Affidavit for his arrest indicates DNA evidence taken from Mary Catherine Edwards and items in her townhome led to Foreman.

The break began developing in April of 2020, when investigators used genetic genealogy to help find a suspect, and it eventually led to Foreman.

In April of 2021, investigators in Ohio collected trash from Foreman's home, and they say DNA on those items matched DNA taken from Edwards and items in her home.

The PC indicates there were no signs of forced entry, which suggests Edwards knew or trusted her attacker.

Lab tests revealed DNA evidence taken from her body matched DNA evidence in the townhome. Police say they began an exhaustive investigation which resulted in numerous interviews and DNA samples taken from a number of males. They also entered the DNA profile into the CODIS and none of the samples produced any leads.

In April of 2020, investigators began using genetic genealogy to help ID the unknown suspect. The DNA was entered into a Gedmatch public database as a research kit, not viewable to the public.

Second cousins were identified and detectives worked a family tree. Detectives obtained further DNA samples from additional distant family members. More than 30 DNA files were voluntarily submitted to detectives by distant family members. Detectives identified DNA connections on both the paternal and maternal sides of Clayton Bernard Foreman.

Research into Clayton Foreman revealed a rape charge in 1981 in Jefferson County. He pled guilty to raping a fellow Forest Park High School classmate and received three years probation. They had both graduated at the time of the rape. In the July 1981 case, police say he came across a stranded woman at a gas station. It was raining and her car was stuck. He offered the victim a ride home. The PC indicates in an effort to make her feel safe with him, he lied and told her he was a police officer willing to give her a ride home. Once in the car, they drove away. He stopped the car, bound her hands behind her back with a belt, and held a knife to her throat and then sexually assaulted her.

The PC indicates there are numerous similarities between that case and the Edwards' murder. Edwards and the first rape victim both went to high school with Foreman. In each case, their hands were bound behind their back. Police say in the first case, Foreman claimed to be a police officer, and in Edwards' murder, police say the suspect utilized police tools of the trade.

The PC indicates on April 15, 2021, with assistance from the FBI office in Cincinnati and the Reynoldsburg Ohio Police Department, a trash pull was conducted on Foreman's residence. They selected several items for their DNA potential and shipped to the FBI in Beaumont. The items were submitted for DNA collection and comparison to DNA taken from Edwards and her apartment. The PC indicates on April 28, 2021, detectives were notified by the DPS Crime Lab that DNA collected from the trash run of Foreman's residence in Ohio is a match to the DNA taken from Edwards in 1985.

"These lab results confirmed Foreman is the suspect that entered Edwards' residence, bound her hand behind her back, sexually assaulted her, and subsequently murdered her," according to the P.C.

Stay with KFDM/Fox 4 on air and online for any new developments.

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