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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
Just when all appeared to be lost with two cold cases, the separate but brutal murders of two women dating back to 1999, technology picked up where the investigation left off.
The Montgomery Police Department announced Thursday it has served warrants and extradition papers for the suspect in the killings.
When Dorothy Lewis' body was found near Crystal Lake in April of 1999, it was unidentifiable. Investigators collected solid evidence and turned the case over to the Alabama Department of Forensics.
"[Every homicide investigation] really hurts, and you carry on each homicide you go to thinking about the one that is unsolved," says Lt. Scott Seithalil of MPD's Major Crimes Unit.
In October of that same year, another grizzly discovery was made, that of a female's body in a pool of blood outside Big Roxanna Missionary Baptist Church on Norman Bridge Road. Forensics later confirmed the body belonged to Carolyn Dixon.
DNA evidence linked Dixon's homicide case to Lewis'.
"Both victims were shot in the same manner, the bodies were dumped in a similar fashion," Lt. Seithalil said. "Ballistic analysis revealed that the same gun killed both victims," he added.
The evidence diligently collected in 1999 went into a national DNA database, but all leads were ultimately exhausted and the cases went cold.
"Back in December of 2011, a CODIS hit came back to Walter Maddox, age 36" Lt. Seithalil explained. The suspect was now tied to both murders and investigators confirmed Maddox worked and lived in Montgomery in 1999. It was a solid match.
Maddox was found serving time at the Clinton Detention Facility in New York. He was sentenced to life plus 99 years for 3 counts of rape, and one count of murder.
Forensic experts say the connection was likely Maddox's DNA uploaded into the system following his last conviction.
New York officials traveled to Clinton, obtained a saliva sample, the detective said. Alabama's Dept. of Forensic Sciences then confirmed the DNA match.
Even though Maddox is serving a life sentence, Montgomery County's district attorney's office intends to move forward with the case and present it to a grand jury.
Alabama is currently leading the nation in solving cold cases using the national DNA database. The program received more than 560 hits last year alone.
CODIS is a nationwide computer program short for Combined DNA Index System."