Police solve 1966 New Hampshire cold case murder

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 12:02 PM EST
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Police in New Hampshire say they have solved a 50-year-old murder mystery using evidence collected at the time of the crime.

In 1966, Everett Delano was shot and killed during a robbery at an auto repair shop in central New Hampshire. Decades later, evidence left behind at the scene revealed new clues. And now, investigators say a Vermont man pulled the trigger.

Sept. 1, 1966: Everett Delano, 49, was found clinging to life in an office at Sanborn's Garage in Andover, New Hampshire. He had three gunshot wounds to the head. The retired naval veteran later died.

Fingerprints found on a sink at the scene were collected by investigators back in 1966 and sent to the FBI. But that's as far as they got. No one entered them into the automatic fingerprint identification system, so they were never analyzed.

The mystery persisted for 47 years with no leads and no one charged in Delano's death until 2013. That's when Delano's family reached out to New Hampshire's Cold Case Unit, which launched a new investigation.

The fingerprints were finally analyzed and a match was found. Thomas Cass of Orleans, Vermont, was already in the FBI system and he was now the prime suspect in Delano's murder.

Cass had a lengthy criminal history that spanned more than 40 years, facing charges like robbery and assault in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

In 2013, police knocked on Cass' door in Orleans. He denied any involvement in Delano's death.

In 2014, four days after another interview with New Hampshire police, Cass shot and killed himself.

The New Hampshire attorney general's office says Cass' fingerprints found on the sink at the scene and his suicide are enough evidence to assume his guilt and close the case.