A 27-year-old Massachusetts man has been arrested in connection with the death of Grace Burton, a Farmington woman who was killed in her apartment in June.

Juan A. Contreras, of 92 Chester Lane, Waltham, Mass., was taken into custody Thursday night in his hometown. He was charged with being a fugitive from justice and will face a murder charge once he returns to Maine, according to a press release from Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Contreras was arrested about 6:45 p.m. by Waltham and Massachusetts State Police. Five Maine State Police detectives arrived in Waltham a short time after the arrest was made.

Contreras was to be held at the Waltham Police Department Thursday night and scheduled to make his first appearance in a nearby court today.

Burton, 81, was stabbed to death inside her apartment on Fairbanks Road June 21.

State police believe Contreras was living in Farmington at the time of Burton’s death, McCausland said. He said the arrest came after DNA samples were compared this week at the State Police crime lab in Augusta.

McCausland said no other details were available Thursday night.

He said Burton’s family was notified as soon as the arrest was made.

Police believe Burton’s assailant cut a screen and entered through an unlocked window of her first-floor apartment.

Burton, who called 911 after the attack, was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where she died later that morning.

Investigators had been searching for a match to DNA sample from the suspected killer. They believed the killer was a male who they believe cut his hands during the attack.

More than 150 samples were taken from known violent criminals in the area, police said.

Julie Shaw, Burton’s only daughter, made a tearful plea for help catching her mother’s killer, just a week after the homicide.

This fall, family and friends of Burton announced they had raised more than $14,000 to offer as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction her killer.

Burton’s five children had distributed flyers statewide about the reward and homicide investigation, a family member said.

The homicide shocked the rural northern Franklin County town of about 7,700 residents that is home to University of Maine at Farmington.

Farmington police officers offered public safety tips at a forum in July, hoping to address growing fears in the community about the homicide and a series of other home invasions in neighboring towns.


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