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Cold Case Heats Up With Arrest In 1999 Killing

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Ida Adams remembered why she traded Washington, D.C. for Wake County.

"When I go to the city, I don't like it anymore, because I'm accustomed to the quietness," said Adams.

But the calm she found on her grandfather's farm on

Wilmington Road in Garner

was violently interrupted on Dec. 7, 1999, when a man walking his dog came across the remains of an apparent murder victim. Now, more than six years later, a case once thought to be cold has come full circle.

Rodney Riggins is now at the Wake County Jail, charged with the killing of Rodney Austin that happened six years ago. Austin's case is just one in a pile of unsolved murders that Wake County detectives are now taking a second look at.

"After all these years, I'm pleased to know they got the person who did it," said Adams.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison has directed his detectives to dust off old, cold cases.

"Anytime we can solve something, it gives closure to families; it gives closure to us," said Harrison.

He's selected 25 unsolved murders that date back to 1976.

"Technology is so great with DNA, and that's a plus for us," said Harrison.

Harrison said no matter how many years go by, time alone cannot erase evidence. It's that evidence that leads to results, and can give people like Ida Adams the peace of mind she came to Garner for.

Authorities said the investigation is continuing and more arrests are expected.