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31 years later, man arrested after woman found dead in river

An arrest has been made in a 1988 cold case murder thanks to DNA testing, authorities said.

Almost 31 years have passed since Patricia Ann Jacob was last seen alive — she was reported missing around Oct. 5, 1988, after she failed to return home from a meeting at Silver Spur tavern in Hardin County. The next morning her truck was found parked in the parking lot at Silver Spur and she was reported missing to the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

Her lifeless body was found the next day in the Neches River in Port Arthur; the cause of death was drowning and she had sustained trauma to her head and face. The autopsy listed her manner of death as “probable homicide.”

Daniel Andrew MacGinnis, now 60, was a suspect in the early part of the investigation, which was led by the Texas Rangers, Hardin County Sheriff’s Office and Port Arthur Police Department, District Attorney Bob Worthman said.

McGinnis was interviewed in California by Texas Rangers and denied any knowledge or involvement. The investigation revealed no previous contact between Jacobs and MacGinnis and the investigation languished for lack of evidence.

DNA testing

Advancements in technology, specifically DNA testing, helped law enforcement crack the case.

In recent months, the Texas rangers and PAPD discovered items of evidence that were tested for DNA, which was not available back in 1988. The Texas DPS Crime Lab developed a DNA profile, which matched MacGinnis, who had become a convicted and registered sex offender. An arrest warrant was obtained, and MacGinnis was arrested on Tuesday.

As he was walked Tuesday from the back of the Jefferson County Courthouse to an awaiting law enforcement vehicle he kept is head down, the brim of a green baseball cap shielding part of his face. He was taken to the Jefferson County Correctional Facility and held on a $1 million bond.

Afterwards, inside the courthouse, Wortham and PAPD Chief Tim Duriso held a brief press conference where they credited the work of the detectives, led by PAPD Lt. Scott Argo, D.A.’s Office and Texas Rangers.

The magnitude of the case is not lost on Duriso.

“This is the beginning, not the end for us in Jefferson County,” Duriso said of the cold case that now includes an arrest. “I wouldn’t say this is the last cold case we’re going to solve, I would say this is the beginning of something new.”