Capital murder case dismissed against man connected to 1979 cold case

Debra Reiding and Michael Anthony Galvan

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The capital murder case has been dismissed against an Austin man who was arrested in connection to the 1979 cold case murder of a newlywed woman.

Michael Galvan was arrested in May 2018 after police said new DNA evidence tested in a cold case murder helped detectives “positively link” him to the death of Debra Sue Reiding, who was found dead in her south Austin apartment. Galvan was denied bond in July 2018.

The case has been dismissed “pending further investigation” by the Austin Police Department cold case unit, according to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. That includes additional information that came about because of an agreement with the defense to use new DNA testing technology, the D.A.’s office said.

It said in a statement that issues with the evidence arose after Galvan was indicted, including the death of a witness and other witnesses’ difficulty remembering events surrounding Reiding’s death.

“As we began preparing this case for trial before a jury, we ran into many challenges that would hinder our ability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” the District Attorney’s office wrote in a statement. “Cold cases are very difficult to prove when, as in this case, the memories of witnesses and the evidence collected from the crime scene are over 40 years old.”

Reiding’s cold case was reopened in 2013. Investigators connected Galvan to the case after filing a search warrant in August 2017 to test his DNA against semen stains found on a robe Reiding was wearing when she died.

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