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Family Gets Closure After 30 Years in Austin; DNA Tech Used To Solve Murder Case

Family Gets Closure After 30 Years in Austin; DNA   Tech Used To Solve Murder Case

Austin, TX: After extensive investigation, the Austin Police Department (APD) detectives have finally identified the perpetrator responsible for the tragic death of Bert Allen Mann in 1994.

Sgt. Melanie Rodriguez from APD’s Cold Case Unit revealed that the identification of Kenneth Wayne Robbins as the perpetrator of Mann’s murder was made possible thanks to a DNA profile. Robbins passed away in September 2023.

Tragedy struck on May 12, 1994, when Burt Allen Mann, aged 46, lost his life at his residence located at 2510 Star Grass Circle in South Austin. Upon returning home from work, the homeowner was met with an unexpected presence – an intruder, later identified as Kenneth Wayne Robbins, inside his residence.

Mann was stabbed multiple times in the foyer of the home, according to the police. A man tragically passed away in the entryway, where he was discovered by his wife.

In 1994, APD Lt. David Parkinson described the case as “unusual” due to the fact that, in typical property crimes, the offender would typically flee the scene without engaging in any confrontation with the homeowner.

According to the authorities, it was reported that the suspect managed to flee through the rear exit of Mann’s residence and disappeared into the surrounding woods.

According to APD Sgt. Melanie Rodriguez, on Feb. 8, 2024, the individual responsible for Mann’s death sustained injuries while exiting the residence, resulting in the presence of blood that was subsequently collected by homicide detectives.

Following the establishment of APD’s Cold Case Unit in 2005, detectives made a significant breakthrough when they uncovered DNA evidence related to this case. The DNA was sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for the completion of an original DNA profile. The profile was uploaded to CODIS, also known as the Combined DNA Index System, but unfortunately, no match was found.

It took almost three decades, and Rodriguez mentioned that a team of over 20 detectives dedicated their efforts to cracking the case of Mann’s murder. Over 40 individuals were considered as potential suspects.

In March 2023, the single-source DNA from Mann’s case was sent to Bode Technology, a private lab. After three months, the company provided APD with results that pointed to a potential suspect in Mann’s case using a technique known as genetic genealogy.

APD collaborated with the Texas Rangers and the DPS Criminal Investigations Division to discreetly obtain DNA from Robbins, who was discovered to be residing in Lubbock, Texas, and employed as a long-haul truck driver.

Despite multiple unsuccessful attempts, an APD detective decided to take action by obtaining a search warrant for Robbins and making the journey to Lubbock. On September 8, 2023, detectives located Robbins at his workplace, executed a search warrant, and obtained a sample of his DNA. Robbins declined to cooperate with the detectives.

APD received a call from the owners of the trucking company Robbins was employed by on September 13, 2023. According to reports, their truck was allegedly parked at a truck stop in Weatherford, Texas, and had remained stationary for an unusually long period.

Weatherford police were contacted by APD to conduct a welfare check, resulting in the unfortunate discovery of Robbins’ lifeless body in his truck. An autopsy later determined that he died by suicide.

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