Evidence links woman with her murderer in newly re-opened cold case

It's been more than 39 years since Debra Reiding was murdered at 18-years-old.

DNA linked 64-year-old Michael Galvan to killing her. And on Wednesday afternoon, the Austin Police Department's cold case unit says previous crimes also helped lead to his arrest.

Read Austin Police Department solves cold case murder from 1979

“He had a few minor if you want to call it minor arrests. In 1981 he was identified in two separate window peeping incidences. And in '87 he was arrested for assaulting a girlfriend,” Detective Jeff Gabler with the Austin Police Department says.

Right now, Galvan is accused of sexually assaulting and then murdering Reiding in her apartment on Algarita Avenue in Austin, in January of 1979.

Wednesday afternoon, FOX 7 learned Galvan was a bartender at the Montana Mining Company.

Reiding worked there at the time of her death.

APD says now they need help in locating witnesses or people who might have known or worked with Galvan around the time Reiding was murdered, as well as his activity in the following years. 

“All we can say is DNA technology is ever advancing even within the last two years there have been changes and two years from now it will probably be changes to the point where we are able to present the case and lead us to where we are today,” Detective Gabler adds.

Reiding’s cousin, Mark Nunn read a letter on Wednesday, thanking the Austin Police Department and the District Attorney’s office for their help. Nunn says,” to say we are ecstatic with the news of her killer being arrested would be an understatement. However we will not rest until her killer is convicted and full justice is served. Having said that nothing will give Debbie the full life that she deserves."

Reiding’s mother couldn’t make it to Austin for Wednesday’s press conference but she wrote something, and gave it to Nunn to read: “At age 18 she had turned into a perky bubbly pretty young lady being raised in a small town of Montana she trusted everyone so while in austin she trusted coworkers to give her rides to and from work.''

APD echoed those same thoughts about her asking coworkers for rides to work, saying Reiding's husband at the time verified Galvan did visit the home once or twice. Galvan has been living and working in Austin since the time of the crime, and previously lived near Ben White Boulevard.

Again APD asks if you know anything about Reiding or Galvan to contact them. "The mantra of the cold case unit is justice is ageless, never forget and never give up,” Assistant Chief Chris Mcllvain says.

The Travis County District Attorney's Office, along with APD's Cold Case Unit, have recently teamed up to collaborate efforts when investigating cold case murders.

Currently, more than 20 Travis County Assistant District Attorneys were hand selected to work with detectives responsible for nearly 190 cases. These team efforts lend strong support and credibility when investigating such challenging cases. The APD Cold Case Unit, along with the Travis County District Attorney's Office, have solved 28 cases to date.