Investigators use DNA to solve decades-old cold case homicide of Cynthia Baver

Berks County District Attorney John Adams announced a breakthrough in the cold case homicide of Cynthia Baver, revealing that 62-year-old Timothy Bethwell Bernard has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, burglary, and aggravated assault. The announcement was made Friday morning in a press conference that shed light on the tireless efforts of the Reading Police Department and the instrumental role of forensic genealogy DNA testing.

The breakthrough follows years of investigation into the tragic murder of 46-year-old Cynthia Baver on April 7, 2001, at her residence on N. 10th Street in Reading. The affidavit of probable cause details the gruesome crime scene, with Cynthia found on her living-room floor, bearing stab wounds, ligature marks, and head injuries. The affidavit further outlines the extensive forensic evidence collected, including bloodstains.

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District Attorney Adams, during the press conference, credited the tenacity of the Reading Police Department and Criminal Investigator Daniel Cedeno for their pursuit of justice. He revealed that the funding for forensic genealogy DNA testing, a pivotal step in the case, was provided through his office. The DNA testing identified Timothy Bernard as the source of the blood found at the crime scene.

Adams described the crime scene as “somewhat of a bloody crime scene,” underscoring the brutality of the incident. He emphasized that the DNA evidence crucial to the case was obtained directly from the crime scene, marking a significant advancement in forensic technology.

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Timothy Bernard, the next-door neighbor of Cynthia Baver in 2001, is now in Berks County Jail without bail, awaiting trial on the serious charges leveled against him.

The press conference highlighted the transformative impact of technology in solving cold cases, with Adams expressing hope for continued use of this technology in resolving other cases. He acknowledged the dedication of law enforcement in bringing closure to the Baver family and revealed that this case marks the second cold case in Berks County to be solved with the assistance of DNA genealogy technology.

“Despite 22 years, justice will now be sought for the death of Cynthia Baver and hopefully we can bring some closure for this family” said Adams.

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Jason Hugg
Jason Hugghttps://huggmedia.com
Editor and photographer at Berks Weekly.
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