Retrieved DNA Could Hold Jenner Slaying Key

DNA would prove the man was at least on the beach

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    NEWSLETTERS

    DNA from a drifter could end the mysterious homicide of these two Christian counselors on a Northern California beach.

    Sonoma County authorities plan to test the DNA of a 62-year-old drifter killed by a New Mexico sheriff's deputy to determine if he's responsible for the 2004 slayings of a couple on a Jenner beach.

    Lindsay Cutshall, 23, and Jason Allen, 26, were shot to death in their sleeping bags while camping.
         
    Joseph Henry Burgess, 62, died in a shootout July 16 that also claimed the life of a deputy in New Mexico's Jemez Mountains.

    "Cookie Bandit" Linked to Jenner Beach Killings

    [BAY] "Cookie Bandit" Linked to Jenner Beach Killings
    A 62-year-old man on Canada's Most Wanted list who was killed in a shootout with police might have killed Lindsay Cutshall and Jason Allen as they slept on Sonoma's Jenner Beach in 2005, police said.

    Burgess was a person of interest in the Jenner deaths from the start because he is the prime suspect in a similar killing in Canada decades ago.  Police say he was a religious fanatic and didn't believe the unwed couple in Canada should be living together so he killed them. They were also shot and killed while sleeping on a beach.

    Sonoma County officials traveled to New Mexico last week to get some of Burgess' DNA and other evidence.

    Investigators recovered DNA from the Jenner crime scene.  If they get a match, they have their man.

    The Jenner crime left the Bay Area stunned five years ago.  The young Christian couple from Ohio was just weeks away from getting married.

    Many thought Burgess was dead all these years, but it turns out he was was just hiding out. 

    Police say that for the last decade, he had been breaking into cabins and stealing food and other items needed for outdoor survival.
     
    Cutshall's father spoke to NBC Bay Area by phone. The Ohio pastor said he's not convinced police have the right man.

    "I think the cases are similar, but I think there are huge differences too and one of the big differences is that our kids were very committed Christians. In fact, they were professional campers and were working at a Christian camp serving God by serving young people (at the time of their deaths)," Chris Cutshall said.

    Cutshall was surprised to find out Burgess had been alive all these years. He says detectives tried, but were never able to find him.

    "Personally, I never felt like it was Burgess.  That ... who knows? Perhaps it was."

    He says Burgess' death intensified the painful memories.