WALLKILL, New York (WABC) -- An arrest has been made in a 20-year-old cold case involving the murder of an NYPD detective's daughter.
Officials announced Thursday that 42-year-old Edward Holley was arrested and charged with murder in Megan McDonald's 2003 death.
Holley was pushed out of state police barracks in Middletown in a wheelchair and proclaimed his innocence.
Investigators say he beat Megan McDonald to death because he owed her money.
She was a 20-year-old college student at the time. McDonald's body was found on March 15, 2003, in a field off Bowser Road.
Police say Holley broke up with McDonald days before her murder, and according to police, had a motive.
"We believe this crime was intimate partner violence, additionally Ed Holley owed Megan a substantial sum of money," said New York State Police Capt. Joseph Kole.
Holley has long been considered the prime suspect and was interviewed numerous times by police.
"Do not let his current appearance fool you, this is a vile human being capable of brutally murdering a beautiful, lively 20-year-old woman," said the victim's brother-in-law James Whalen.
In 2021, new technology linked his DNA to the victim's cellphone.
On Thursday her family thanked investigators who worked the cold case.
"These men gave us hope, with them, it was always a matter of when, not if, this day would come," said the victim's sister, Karen Whalen.
Thursday's developments were watched by two sets of interested parties: Holley's wife and kids and a short distance away friends of the McDonald family who wanted to send a message.
"That her family loved her and have been praying for this day, praying for her peace of her soul and for her family," a loved one said.
Last month, police put the case back in the spotlight and announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to her killer's arrest.
ALSO READ | Police searching for North Carolina man after car plows through dining shed, officer hurt
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News