New technology helps solve Berks County cold case after more than 20 years

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Friday, December 1, 2023
New technology helps solve cold case after more than 20 years
New technology helps solve Berks County cold case after more than 20 years

READING, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A homicide case in Reading, Pennsylvania that is more than 20 years old has finally been solved thanks to new technology, according to officials.

On Friday morning, the Berks County District Attorney's office announced that DNA evidence led them to the person who killed Cynthia Baver back in 2001.

"No one really ever forgot about this case, we just didn't have the evidence," said John Adams, the district attorney.

The evidence was a DNA match and it led police to 62-year-old Timothy Bernard, the victim's next-door neighbor.

The crime happened in April 2001.

Reading police found an unconscious woman at a row home on the 1100 block of North 10th Street.

Police say Baver was stabbed and there was a cord tied around her neck.

But despite police saying there was a lot of forensic evidence on the scene, including blood on breezeway and window connecting to the neighbor's house, the case went cold until 2021.

Using new technology, investigators sent blood out to get a DNA profile which ended up matching the profile of Bernard.

He consented to give police his own DNA and investigators said it was a match.

Bernard is charged with first- and third-degree homicide, aggravated assault and robbery.

Baver's family, who has waited 22 years to find out what happened to their loved one, says they never gave up hope.

"I think that's the other thing that kind of kept us going for us too, knowing that we had some of that evidence and hoping that one day, technology would advance, science would advance and we'd actually be able to use that to solve something like this," said Crystal Baver, the victim's niece.

Police said they always suspected Bernard but never had probable cause to arrest him until this DNA evidence.

He is being held in Berks County prison without bail.