Arrest in a cold case: A man accused of killing and dismembering an Alton woman in 2004.

A man has been charged with murder and imprisoned in connection with the death of a woman whose decapitated torso was discovered at a Missouri rest stop along Interstate 70 nearly two decades ago.

Mike A. Clardy, 63, of Maryland Heights, Missouri, was charged with second-degree murder and abandoning a corpse in the death of Deanna Denise Howland on Wednesday. His bail was set at one million dollars.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, DNA evidence linked Clardy to the crime, and he confessed after his arrest.

The remains discovered on June 26, 2004, down a hill near a picnic area at a Warren County rest stop remained unidentified for 12 years. DNA evidence established that the victim was Howland of Alton, Illinois, in 2016.

DNA evidence also aided in the identification of the suspect. According to charging documents, police matched Clardy’s DNA to DNA fragments found on Howland’s body and a knife found in a sewer near the rest stop.

Clardy admitted killing Howland at his home before dismembering her and abandoning parts of her body in St. Louis and Warren counties, according to officers who interviewed him on Tuesday. According to online court records, Clardy has no criminal record in Missouri.

According to her daughter, Ashley Kinnear, Howland was a 35-year-old mother of four who struggled with drug addiction.

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