Austin yogurt shop murder cold case hinges on DNA that FBI won’t share

Bob and Pam Ayers, photographed in Dripping Springs on Wednesday January 15, 2020, are the parents of Amy Ayers, who was murdered in an Austin yogurt shop in 1991.   [JAY JANNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

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Bob and Pam Ayers, photographed in Dripping Springs on Wednesday January 15, 2020, are the parents of Amy Ayers, who was murdered in an Austin yogurt shop in 1991.   [JAY JANNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

AUSTIN — The FBI could hold the key to solving one of the most notorious cold cases in Texas history, but the federal agency won’t release the information because of privacy concerns.

Its stance has frustrated investigators, devastated family members and thrust Austin into the spotlight of a growing national debate over the novel use of what some call family-tree forensics.

“That’s all we’ve ever done is ask for help,” says Bob Ayers, whose daughter, 13-year-old Amy, was among those killed. “And now that we’ve found something, we can’t get it.”

At issue is a single strand of DNA collected from a victim in the brutal 1991 slaying of four teenage girls at an Austin yogurt shop. Not a complete sample, the DNA can’t identify a single suspect but could point to that person’s male lineage.

Austin police in 2017 matched the sample to one the FBI uploaded into a public research database operated by the University of Central Florida.

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