FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - An arrest has been made in a homicide investigation that began nearly 22 years ago.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Octavious Alexander Rivera, 49, on Thursday for the murder of Bridgett Felicia Parker, 27.
On May 19, 1996, Parker was found dead behind a vacant mobile home on Lulaville Road in Fitzgerald by the property owner.
"This case would have been 22 years old in May," said GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Todd Crosby.
Officials with the GBI followed numerous leads over the years, but no evidence or witnesses were located to link a suspect to Parker's death.
Evidence in the case was resubmitted to the GBI Crime Lab in May of 2016 after agents fully reviewed the case.
Officials with the GBI said they did not let the case go cold, and advancements in forensic technology led to new evidence and new leads.
"The family deserves closure," Crosby said. "The community deserves to know what happened."
Multiple witnesses were interviewed in the Ben Hill County area, as well as in Florida and Missouri. Information gathered in those interviews and processing the evidence led to Rivera's arrest.
Ben Hill County Sheriff Lee Cone said he was able to give Parker's family the news Thursday morning that a suspect had been arrested.
"Imagine the questions that they've had over the years," said Sheriff Cone. "Now, these questions are being answered."
Rivera was taken into custody at the Tift County Jail but will be booked in the Ben Hill County Jail.
He is charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, and rape.
The investigation is still active and agents will be conducting more interviews over the next few weeks.
It is not known at this time when Rivera's first appearance in court may be.