New Smyrna Beach, FL – A 45-year-old man already serving life in prison for raping a woman while pretending to be a police officer is now charged with the rape and murder of an 88-year-old woman from nearly 30 years ago.
The New Smyrna Beach Police Department announced the indictment of 45-year-old Lynn E. Young (above) during a press conference this morning at NSBPD Headquarters on Industrial Park Drive. Until today, it was the oldest unsolved cold case in the city’s history.
NSBPD Chief Mike Coffin says DNA testing which wasn’t available at the time Whitney Gunn (below) was raped and murdered gave a Volusia County grand jury the basis for Monday’s indictment, bringing some closure to her surviving family.
“The only thing I can tell you that [Young] did tell us was that he did not know Whitney Gunn, never met Whitney Gunn, never had a relationship with Whitney Gunn,” Coffin added. “So, to me, that’s about as random as it gets.”
Gunn’s family was offered the chance to be at the press conference but none of them chose to be there, according to Chief Coffin.
A 911 dispatcher got a call early in the morning of July 25, 1990 from Gunn, minutes after she was attacked at her Live Oak Street home, according to NSBPD Lieutenant Shane Riggle.
“When police arrived, they learned [that] Gunn had been beaten, raped and left for dead in her own bedroom,” Riggle added. “Three days later, Gunn died from the injuries she received during the attack.”
Even though Gunn was unable to identify her attacker before she died, police continued to work the case and test DNA evidence periodically to see if it matched anything new coming in.
Thanks to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, DNA from Young was tested in the summer of 2017, linking him – who was 17 years old at the time – to the crime. The grand jury indicted Young on counts of first-degree murder, burglary and sexual battery.
Young is currently an inmate at a prison in Hardee County, serving a life sentence for a similar attack in 1997.