ITHACA, N.Y. (WETM) – Ithaca Police say they’ve closed a cold case involving the murder of a man nearly 40 years ago, finally solving the case with DNA evidence after seven years of intense investigation.

David Malcom was 26 when he was killed while working at the former Red Cross Shelter on W. Court Street in Ithaca on February 12, 1987. Immediately after the killing, IPD said officers focused on another male employee as the main suspect.

However, in 1988, the case went cold but continued to be investigated up to 2010, IPD said. In 2015, it was reopened, kicking off seven and a half years of forensic investigation with new technology and with the help of the NYSP Troop C Forensic Identification Unit, the NYSP Forensic Investigation Center in Albany, and the Tompkins County District Attorney, as well as other local, state, and federal agencies.

Now, IPD says they’ve used “DNA and investigative leads” to find the man who murdered Malcom. According to the news release, the killer was the estranged boyfriend of a teen girl who had come to the shelter for help the day before, following a domestic incident in Newfield. IPD said Malcom refused to give the girl’s location to the boyfriend.

Ithaca Police didn’t release the name of the man they say killed Malcom and added that he died in 2019.

“Mr. Malcom’s heroic actions for not disclosing the whereabouts of the young teen sadly cost him his life,” IPD said. “His death caused pain to Mr. Malcom’s Family and friends due to his tragic death and for not knowing why he was killed and by whom.”

The news release also said Ithaca Police Deputy Chief Vincent Monticello met with Malcom’s family to apologize for not solving the case sooner.

“Many of the tools, training and resources used today to solve homicides were not available to
Investigators in 1987,” the release said. “This was a challenging case for Investigators in 1987 who were working the case with limited resources.”