GBI seeks DNA evidence in 1985 murder case

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation exhumed the body of Harold Swain Wednesday morning in Camden County as agents continue to re-examine the 1985 murder of Swain and his wife Thelma.

“This exhumation is necessary to obtain DNA evidence for the furtherance of the Harold and Thelma Swain murder investigation,” according to a statement from GBI. “Anyone with information pertinent to this investigation is urged to contact the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477). The investigation remains active and ongoing.”

GBI reopened its investigation into the murders earlier this year after attorneys for Dennis Perry — the man convicted in 2003 of killing the Swains — brought new DNA evidence to the court’s attention that indicates Erik Sparre may have been involved in the murders.

A hair sample from Sparre’s mom led to DNA testing that showed Sparre — who has not been charged and denies any involvement — fell into the 0.4% of the population that could not be excluded. The DNA sample came from hair stuck in a pair of glasses that were found at the crime scene and presumably worn by the murderer. 

Since reopening the case, GBI agents have also searched the Waynesville home where Sparre lived with his mother who died in July. GBI is investigating her death too.

Perry’s conviction was overturned in July and he was released on bond after a judge granted his motion for a new trial. Whether he’s charged with the murders a second time is up to the district attorney’s office, which is waiting on GBI’s findings.