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St. Clair County man arrested in 42-year-old murder case

Karen Umphrey
Posted at 10:03 AM, Dec 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-18 18:45:17-05

(WXYZ) — The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office said an arrest has recently been made in a 42-year-old murder case.

Officials say 70-year-old Douglas Laming of Fort Gratiot was taken into custody in connection with the murder of Karen Umphrey.

Umphrey, who was 21 years old at the time, was found dead in the State Game Area in Beards Hills on November 2, 1980.

According to the sheriff’s office, their detective bureau worked tirelessly over this past year and with advancements in DNA testing and availability, there was a break in the case.

"We feel a great responsibility to the family of Miss Umphrey. We try to respect their feelings and hopefully bring some type of closure is our goal and to respect the memory of Karen Umphrey," said Sheriff Mat King. "We don’t look at it as a win/ loss. We look at it as a job that we need to do."

The Sheriff's office says information was reportedly recovered that would have been impossible to uncover previously thanks to Ortham, a company specializing in forensic genetic genealogy.

“The diligence of investigators and utilization of scientific advancements, including those used by the MSP Forensic Science Laboratories and Othram, were integral to the identification of Karen Umphrey’s killer,” the press release from the St. Clair County Sheriff's Office stated.

7 Action News was able to speak with family members of Umphrey via phone Monday. However they declined comment at this time as they anticipate learning more about the case break from prosecutor's in the coming days.

Laming was arraigned on December 17 in Port Huron on the charges of Felony Murder. He is expected to appear in court for a probable cause conference on December 26.