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A Miramar, Florida, murder case that sat cold for 37 years has been solved after investigators reopened the files and discovered a DNA sample leading them to the killer.

On Oct. 21, 1986, 28-year-old William “Billy” Halpern was “brutally” murdered in his Miramar home, the Miramar Police Department said in a Facebook post.

The former firefighter worked at a gym in Hollywood, Florida, and was considered an avid bodybuilder.

In January, investigators reopened the case after discovering several partial DNA profiles available for analysis.’

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At the time, Miramar Police Detective Danny Smith, who was leading the investigation, said during a press conference that they had DNA samples but needed names or someone to come forward with information about the case.

After sending out a call for the public’s help, the department made an announcement about the case on Tuesday.

Smith received numerous tips from the community which led him to identify Harrier Collier, now deceased, as one of the perpetrators who killed Halpern.

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Billy-Halpern

“If Harry Collier…were alive today, Miramar Police would be charging him with the murder of Billy Halpern,” Police said on Facebook.

Police added that they believe Halpern was killed because he inadvertently learned information that someone did not want released.

WSVN in Miami reported that Collier was killed in a murder connected to two other murders near a former gym, including Halpern’s.

The dozens of leads that were submitted to Smith reportedly aligned with evidence linking to a double murder around the same time in Tamarac, and Collier’s DNA.

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Billy-Halpern-Trophy

“The way that the murder scene in Tamarac was laid out, very similar, if not exact, to the Halpern murder scene,” Smith said.

The station reported that police believe Halpern’s death was the first of two homicides to take place, which were both connected to the gym.

The gym’s owner, Gil Fernandez, was a former police officer in Miami-Dade County, as well as a bodybuilder who had connections with the mob.

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Billy-Halpern-Bodybuilder

Fernandez was first considered a suspect in Halpern’s murder, though DNA could not implicate him. Still, he was sentenced to life behind bars after being convicted of another murder.

The investigation into Halpern’s death led detectives to believe Halpern knew something he should not have known or heard.

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While Collier has been named as one of the perpetrators, the case has not been closed as there are more connections, and possibly more arrests to be made.

“We’re looking for people that were there. We’re looking for individuals that may have ordered this murder. People that were complicit,” the station reported Smith as saying. “We’re not going to stop.”

Anyone with additional information about the case is encouraged to contact Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

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