DNA evidence helps Philadelphia police make arrest in 2007 cold case murder

On Nov. 7, 2007, officers located Carlos Diaz Cotto shot inside a home on the 400 block of West Spencer Street.

ByBrandon Longo WPVI logo
Thursday, September 16, 2021
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PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police say DNA evidence has helped them crack a 2007 cold case murder.

On November 7, 2007, officers located Carlos Diaz Cotto suffering from a gunshot wound to the back inside a home on the 400 block of West Spencer Street. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have been looking for three suspects who entered the home and shot Cotto during a robbery.

DNA evidence was recovered from the crime scene and it was submitted into the FBI DNA database, otherwise known as CODIS.

The case went cold for more than a decade until December 24, 2020, when investigators received a CODIS comparison result for the DNA of 40-year-old Ryan Keel.

Ryan Keel

Keel was in federal custody concerning an open FBI case against him.

On May 4, 2021, a recent DNA sample from Keel was compared against evidence found at the murder scene and it was a match.

Based on the DNA and additional evidence, an arrest warrant was obtained for Keel on July 21, 2021.

On August 12, 2021, Keel was formally charged with the murder of Cotto.

Deputy Commissioner Ben Naish with the Philadelphia Police Department says it was the hard work of his fellow officers that helped bring an arrest in this case.

"It's important to recognize that some homicide investigations can take a significant amount of time to develop the necessary evidence to hold an offender responsible for the crime, but the dedicated men and women of the homicide unit continue to work the older cases in pursuit of justice," said Naish.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the remaining suspects is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS.