Clayton Bernard Foreman, 61, has been charged with rape and murder in connection with the death of Mary Catherine Edwards

May 06, 2021 04:49 PM
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Mary Catherine Edwards
Credit: Texas Rangers

Mary Catherine Edwards was a respected teacher who in 1995 was living alone in Beaumont, Tx. At 31, she had a large circle of friends and a close-knit family, and she had just moved into a new townhouse.

Edwards was last seen on the evening of Friday, Jan. 13, 1995. According to the Beaumont Enterprise, her parents grew concerned the following day when she did not respond to phone calls. They went to her home to check on her welfare — and there they found a horrific scene.

"When they arrived, they found Edwards drowned in her bathroom," a Department of Public Safety press release said, according to the Enterprise. "She had been sexually assaulted and killed." She had been handcuffed with her hands behind her back.

For more than 25 years, the case remained unsolved

But authorities got a break thanks to DNA evidence — and they have arrested a surprising suspect.

Clayton Bernard Foreman
Credit: Beaumont Police Department

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Clayton Bernard Foreman, 61, of Franklin County, Ohio, has been charged with murder in Edwards' death. Police tell News 4 San Antonio that they both attended the same high school.

Foreman and Edwards were casual friends — she was even a bridesmaid at the wedding of Foreman and his first wife.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by KJAS-TV, DNA evidence taken in 1995 led police to Foreman.

In April 2020, investigators began using genetic genealogy to help find a suspect. They first found several distant cousins, which led them closer and closer to an arrest. Eventually, the DNA led them to Foreman. Last month, investigators in Ohio collected trash from Foreman's home. They say that DNA on those items matched DNA taken from Edwards' body.

Additionally, investigators say that the crime against Edwards had similarities to a 1981 rape of one of Foreman's high school classmates. Foreman pleaded guilty to the crime and received three years of probation.

Foreman was taken into custody in Ohio. Authorities will extradite him to Texas to face murder charges. He has not yet entered a plea, and online arrest records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.