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23-year-old La Crosse murder case may be solved by accident

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DNA evidence that was saved by accident could solve a 23-year-old murder case south of La Crosse.

Authorities say they're focusing on one suspect in the 1985 death of 24-year-old Terry Dolowy, who vanished on Valentine's Day and was later beheaded.

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Her body was found burned in a roadside ditch in Vernon County, and her head and her white poodle were never found.

Dolowy was a senior at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her remains were exhumed a year ago in the hopes of finding new evidence. The FBI, the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center, and various interviews uncovered the suspect.

La Crosse sheriff's captain Kurt Papenfuss said DNA was recovered, but officers didn't know what it was back then.

Still, it was frozen for some reason and now, it could be a key part of the investigation.

Papenfuss says officers apparently have a better understanding of what happened before Dolowy died. The cause of death was never released.

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