Leslie McCray was kidnapped at knifepoint along with her boyfriend

Advertisement
Leslie McCray
Credit: Project: Cold Case

After 36 years, authorities in Florida have made an arrest in the kidnapping and killing of 17-year-old college student Leslie McCray.

During a press conference Thursday, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters revealed a grand jury had indicted 59-year-old David Nelson Austin on a first-degree murder charge in connection with McCray's stabbing death.

Austin, who is imprisoned in Michigan, serving a life sentence for numerous sexual assault convictions, has also been charged with two counts of armed kidnapping and one count of armed sexual battery, PEOPLE confirms.

McCray was killed in 1985 on Christmas Eve.

According to investigators, McCray was kidnapped at knifepoint from her Jacksonville apartment.

David Nelson Austin
David Nelson Austin
| Credit: Michigan Department of Corrections

Detectives allege Austin walked into McCray's apartment and tied her and her boyfriend up.

The boyfriend watched in horror as McCray was dragged away.

After freeing himself, the boyfriend called police, who started searching the immediate area. She was found dead hours later along the side of a road.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Waters said Thursday that DNA evidence was reexamined in 2019, and led investigators directly to Austin.

Austin has yet to enter pleas to the charges. Efforts are underway to have him extradited to Florida. It was not clear if he has retained an attorney.

At the press conference, McCray's relatives told reporters they were relieved to have some semblance of closure.

"I always have that question in the back of your mind — what happened to her, why," said Joey Bray, a cousin of McCray, according to WJXT. "I wanted justice for her. I'm just glad we know. We have answers."