Arrest Made In Cathy Swartz Murder Investigation
By: Mike Stiles - Monday, May 1, 2023

(left) Cathy Sue Swartz and (right) Robert Waters. (photos courtesy of Three Rivers Police Department and the Beaufort County, South Carolina Sheriff's Department)

(CENTREVILLE) – A suspect has been arrested in the 35 year old murder investigation into the death of Cathy Sue Swartz.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor David Marvin says 53 year old Robert Odell Waters has been charged with Swartz’s murder. He was arrested on Sunday in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Swartz was just 19 years old when she was murdered on December 2, 1988 in her apartment in Three Rivers. Her 9 month old daughter was in the next room at the time of her mother’s death.

Investigators with the Three Rivers Police Department says Swartz fought her attacker, but was stabbed multiple times. She was also beaten and strangled. No murder weapon was found. Officers located fingerprints, blood and a footprint at the crime scene they thought belonged to the suspect, but were never able to find a match.

In 2022, the Three Rivers Police Department announced it was going to be their top priority to solve Cathy’s murder and bring justice to her family. Working with the Michigan State Police, Three Rivers Police were able to use forensic genetic genealogy to narrow down the suspect pool until they identified Waters as their main suspect.

Marvin says through the hard work of Three Rivers Police Chief Scott Boling, Detective Sam Smallcombe and Detective-Sergeant Todd Peterson of the Michigan State Police, they were able to break the case and have Waters arrested.

Marvin says he has been told Waters has waived his extradition back to St. Joseph County. Undersheriff Jason Bingaman is working on arrangements to bring Waters back to Michigan.


>> News Archive