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More details: Man arrested for killing 31 years ago has long history of violence

Just shy of 31 years ago the body of Patricia Ann Jacobs was found floating in the ship channel off Old Ferry Road in Port Arthur.

An autopsy showed the cause of death to be drowning, and Jacobs, 36, of Silsbee, had trauma to her head and face; the manner of death listed was “probable homicide.”

Daniel Andrew MacGinnis was identified as a suspect early on in the investigation and was interviewed in California by the Texas Rangers. He denied any knowledge or involvement in her death, and with no previous contact between the two, the investigation and the trail went cold.

Law enforcement working the cold case in recent months sent items of evidence to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab where a DNA profile was developed and ultimately matched MacGinnis, Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso said during a press conference at the Jefferson County Courthouse following MacGinnis’ arrest in Warren, Texas, on Tuesday. His bond is set at $1 million.

On or about Oct. 5, 1988, Jacobs 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.

Port Arthur Police Det. Mike Hebert said police believe the killing happened in Port Arthur.

Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham said Jacobs’ family was notified of the arrest.

“They were very appreciative of the effort and very glad that justice is finally going to be brought to their mother’s death,” Wortham said. “We contacted them this morning (Tuesday) and let them know he was arrested.”

Hebert explained in a later phone call that Jacobs’ husband is deceased — he doesn’t know when his death occurred — and that Jacobs’ children remain in the area.

MacGinnis has a lengthy criminal history and served at least 14 years in a California prison for “rape by force” of a 35-year-old woman. He also served time for the sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman in Texas and attempt to commit aggravated kidnapping, also in Texas, of a 39-year-old woman, according to the Texas Public Sex Offender Website operated by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Wortham was asked if the murder case would be difficult to prosecute, to which he said it’s never easy.

“When we have sworn DNA evidence, it helps in our case substantially,” he said. “He was a suspect in 1988 and he’s still a suspect today as we speak. He will go through the court system.”

Wortham and Duriso held a brief press conference where they credited the work of the detectives, led by PAPD Lt. Scott Argo, the 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.”