On January 14, 1995 schoolteacher Mary Catherine Edwards didn’t answer her phone. When her parents finally went to her home to see why she wasn’t answering, they discovered Mary’s body in her bathroom. The 31-year-old Beaumont, Texas resident had been sexually assaulted and murdered. She had been drowned in her bathtub with her hands in handcuffs behind her back. There was no sign of forced entry, so investigators always felt the crime was perpetrated by someone Mary would have willingly let into her home.
For 26 years her murder remained unsolved.
Until the DNA evidence from Mary Edwards’ sexual assault was matched to a suspect using a genealogy website.
In May 2021, a 61-year-old Ohio man named Clayton Bernard Foreman was arrested and charged with Mary Edwards’ rape and murder. Mary Edwards was a high school classmate of Clayton Foreman. She was friends with the woman he married and was a bridesmaid at his (first) wedding.
Just one month after investigators started working on finding a match for the DNA from the sexual assault on genealogy websites, they were able to trace distant relatives of the DNA to Foreman. They got Foreman’s DNA by collecting his trash and going through it. I hope this means every other person who has committed a brutal crime and gotten away with it is shitting their pants right now. Over 30 people who were distant relatives of Foreman volunteered DNA samples to help police catch him.
Foreman has a previous rape charge from 1981 when he raped another one of his high school classmates. In that case, police say:
He came across a stranded woman at a gas station. It was raining and her car was stuck. He offered the victim a ride home. The PC indicates in an effort to make her feel safe with him, he lied and told her he was a police officer willing to give her a ride home. Once in the car, they drove away. He stopped the car, bound her hands behind her back with a belt, and held a knife to her throat and then sexually assaulted her.
He pled guilty to that rape and was sentenced to probation.
As of 2018, Foreman was active with organizing reunions for his high school classmates and he attended a reunion that year.
His classmates say, “he was a thoughtful person and no one would have expected that he’d be charged with Edwards’ murder.”
Foreman is in custody but police believe he has more victims out there.