TACOMA, Wash. -- After waiting nearly 27 years, Carol Davidson's family said they finally have closure.
Pierce County prosecutors charged Christopher Leon Smith with Davidson's murder Friday morning.
Police found Davidson's beaten body in her Tacoma apartment on August 30, 1986. She had been tied and gagged. The medical examiner determined she had been strangled to death.
"She was the mom who took everyone in when they didn't have a place to go," said Davidson's daughter Angel Dewey.
Dewey said the family was surprised to learn police had identified a suspect last December.
"It was like a Christmas gift," said Dewey, "We were like, this can't really be happening."
In 1986 police said they did not have any suspects, but DNA samples were left at the scene.
They sat on a police evidence shelf until last year when the Tacoma Police Department established a cold case unit.
Detective Gene Miller sent the DNA evidence from Davidson's case to the Washington State Patrol's crime lab.
The sample matched Smith's DNA, who was serving a 50-year sentence in the State Penitentiary in Walla Walla for rape of a child and kidnapping.
"Every time we solve one, it's just a great feeling," said Miller.
Davidson's daughter is thankful for police for keeping the case alive.
"She was a wonderful woman," said Dewey.