SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Fellow sailors who have trained at the Naval training base in Orlando were relieved to learn an arrest has been made in the 1984 murder of 25-year-old Navy recruit Pamela Cahanes.
Deputies arrested Thomas Garner, 59, for her murder Wednesday.
Deputies said DNA from genetic testing linked Garner to the murder.
- Sheriff: Lake Mary High student, 17, shot, killed herself in school auditorium
- ‘Armed and dangerous' suspect sought after armed robbery, shooting in Orange County, deputies say
- Police: Drunken man guns down wife, 2 friends at wife's birthday party after she took keys
- Video: Colorado teen gets life in prison for murder of 10-year-old girl
"Every year that went by that it didn't get solved I think everybody lost a little bit more hope,” Renata Cannon, chairperson of the RTC reunion group, said.
Cannon never personally met Cahanes but trained at the same base.
"We consider ourselves Navy brothers and sisters so Pamela was one of ours," Cannon said.
Two days after graduating from Navy basic training in 1984, Cahanes was found beaten and strangled to death in Sanford.
Investigators said Garner was a shipmate at the RTC in Orlando at the same time as Cahanes though back then, men and women trained separately.
"It's sickening really because it's just, it's a just a complete betrayal," Cannon said.
Cannon said Cahanes’ death had a major impact on recruits in the years that followed.
"We had to travel in groups,” Cannon said. “We had to go everywhere even on base. We did not travel alone."
Cannon said Cahanes’ fellow Navy brothers and sisters are hoping the arrest is a step toward closure.
"They're angry that it was another Navy sailor but they're extremely relieved," Cannon said.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.