10/26/2014 10:37 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Former Criminalist Kevin Brown Commits Suicide As Police Link Him To Girl's 1984 Murder: Cops

San Diego police looked for the killer of a 14-year-old girl for three decades. Little did they know that a key suspect worked among them for almost 20 of those years.

The body of Claire Hough was found strangled and mutilated in Torrey Pines State Park in 1984. Kevin Brown, a civilian criminalist in the San Diego Police Department's crime lab, was already two years into a career there that would end in 2002.

Years after the trail for Hough's killer had dried up, detectives in 2012 ran a DNA test that they say implicated Brown and another man, according to XETV.

Authorities were preparing to arrest Brown, but they missed their chance as the 62-year-old apparently committed suicide. His body was found Tuesday.

Brown's widow, however, denied that her husband was a killer. Rebecca Brown believes police contaminated the evidence and only matched her late husband because he worked in the lab, according to statements she made to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

She said police harassed Brown until he took his life.

"They pushed him over the edge," Rebecca Brown said.

Police said that Brown never handled any of the evidence related to Hough's murder.

The other suspect, Ronald Tatro, died in a boating accident in Tennessee before detectives cracked open the case.

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