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Untested DNA could solve murder

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UNDERCOVER - Three years after evidence in his brother's murder was found locked away in a local police department, Anthony Lombardo is still waiting for the state to conduct DNA testing that could solve the 25-year-old killing that has torn his family apart.

"My brother was found in a sleeping bag. There was supposed to be some DNA on it. They refuse to do the DNA on it on the sleeping bag. I don't know why," Lombardo said.

Natale Lombardo, of Somerville, was 26-years-old in 1986 when he was found in the back of his car, shot once in the back of the head. The car was parked on a Revere side street, the body stuffed inside a sleeping bag, feet dangling out, dead for three days before a neighbor discovered him.

"Friday night. He called my mother saying he was going out for a few hours with his friends. And that's the last time we heard from my brother," Lombardo recalled. "My mother was in shock. Everybody was in shock. We thought maybe he just took a trip someplace. Maybe he'd gone to New York, went away for the weekend. Something like that. We never in a million years... because my brother wasn't a bad kid. Everybody knew my brother."

The victim used to work at the family's fish market in East Boston when his brother noticed a change. He began spending less time on business and more on "other things," his brother said, which he suspected came from his involvement with a drug dealing crowd.

"A murder is a murder. No matter if there was drugs or if there was no drugs," Lombardo said. "If somebody was killed there should be consequences here."

But authorities still haven't caught the killer, and the investigation has resulted in one frustration after another for the family.

"We gave them all the information. We threw a few names out there to him. And he was supposed to be working the case and we never got anywhere," Lombardo said.

Lombardo says he contacted the State Police again, around the 20-year anniversary of the murder, and received stunning news.

"I gave him the information and he called me back in a few days and he told me there was no file," he said. "We were shocked."

"What happened to it?" asked FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet.

"That's a good question. That's a good question," Lombardo replied.

The Suffolk DA's office tells FOX Undercover that investigators "meticulously recreated" the file.

In 2009, the new investigators discovered key evidence stashed away at the Revere Police Department, including the blood-stained sleeping bag in which the victim's body had been placed.

Lombardo grew hopeful that DNA on the sleeping bag could be the clue to finally solving his brother's murder. But that break in case is once again resulting in frustration as the testing hasn't been done.

"We lived with the hope one of these days someone was going to give us a call and give us some good news," he said.

"Justice?" Beaudet asked.

"Justice," Lombardo replied.

"Why isn't that test being done?" Beaudet asked.

"That's the million dollar question," Lombardo replied.

"That test could find the killer," Beaudet said.

"Correct, correct," Lombardo replied. "They don't want to go forward and I don't know why."

This isn't Suffolk DA Dan Conley's first encounter with the case. He was the young assistant district attorney who responded to the crime scene the night Lombardo's body was found, though he was never assigned to the case

Conley declined FOX Undercover's request for an on-camera interview, but spokesman Jake Wark said in a statement that, "The homicide of Natale Lombardo almost 30 years ago is not a cold case.  Some of the best police and prosecutors in Massachusetts are working on it today, and we look forward to the time when we can give his family some form of closure after this long wait for justice. The state of the evidence today in Mr. Lombardo's homicide does not support criminal charges, but the investigation is open and very active.  While we don't discuss the specific steps taken in any ongoing investigation, we always act in the best interests of the case.  That action could include forensic testing, grand jury subpoenas, interviews with witnesses and others connected with a case, and other steps that provide admissible, reliable, accurate results."

The DA's office also plans to meet with the Lombardo family this week.

State Police spokesman David Procopio issued a statement saying, "The State Police Crime Lab, working in conjunction with the Suffolk District Attorney and State Police detectives, has performed testing on items connected to the homicide of Natale Lombardo whenever the possibility to recover probative evidence existed. Our laboratory will continue to assess the case as the ongoing and vigorous investigation continues to develop and, in consultation with prosecutors and detectives, will continue to test and analyze material and items whenever there is a chance that further probative evidence may be found. We do so cognizant of the capabilities of forensic analysis, and in adherence to the rigorous standards of evidence that are the foundation of professional investigations that stand up in court. We understand the desire of Mr. Lombardo's family to find justice, and we share the commitment of District Attorney Conley to speak for this victim through a meticulous, painstaking investigation."

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