Austin native named suspect in 1994 New York cold case murder

(ABC 6 News) – Police in East Greenbush, New York have identified a former Austin, Minn. man as the suspect in the murder of an 81-year-old woman in August 1994.

At a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 19, law enforcement linked the suspect, former Austin native, Jeremiah James Guyette, to the murder of Wilomeana “Violet” Filkins who was found dead by her brother and niece in her East Greenbush apartment on Aug. 19, 1994.

Video provided by Hubbard affiliate WNYT Newschannel 13

Police said then, an 18-year-old Guyette, had plans to steal a car and rob a bank to get money for college.

Police searched for evidence and tracked thousands of leads in the months and years that followed. Police said since the murder, DNA was continuously resubmitted to the New York State Police crime lab as new evidence due to enhanced technology.

Then in October 2019, police received a tip that a man who lived in the same apartment complex as Filkins in 1994 – Jeremy Guyette – told an ex-girlfriend in 2009 about “that poor old woman,” and essentially confessed to her, of killing Filkins.

Acting on that tip, police found Guyette living in Rosendale, New York and went to talk to him. He told police he wouldn’t talk and wanted a lawyer. Police also spoke to members of his family and co-workers. The very next day, police were called to Guyette’s apartment and finding he took his own life.

Police were able to match Guyette’s fingerprint after his death, to a fingerprint left on a coffee table inside Filkins’s apartment. Last Thursday, police – some of whom spent much of their career hoping to solve this case – shared the news with Filkins’ family.