The Justice Files: Unsealed search warrants offers new insight in Sherry Black murder investigation

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It was science that led to a suspect in the 2010 murder of Sherry Black.

In search warrants that were recently unsealed, authorities got their first tip from Parabon Nanolabs which is at the forefront of new DNA technology.

And according to recently unsealed search warrants, murder suspect Adam Durborow may have known what Sherry Black had inside her bookstore; rare and valuable books.

In 2010, Black was found murdered at her bookstore in South Salt Lake. The case remained unsolved for a decade.

After the case was transferred to the Salt Lake County sheriff’s office, detectives forwarded DNA found at the crime scene to Parabon labs. Using the latest DNA technology they found a person of interest for police.

“It’s an exciting thing were genealogists can help solve crimes,” said Karra Porter with the Utah Cold Case Coalition.

Porter is the founder of nation’s only non-profit DNA lab called Intermountain Forensics. The lab uses the same DNA technology as Parabon.

According to the search warrants, the DNA technology narrowed the search to the Durborow family. Then a family member was contacted and that person agreed to outline their family tree.

“The genealogist isn’t doing law enforcement work,” Porter said. “It’s like giving a tip to the police. They’re just saying ‘why don’t you look at this guy.'”

The science investigation led to Durborow and it was up to detectives with Unified Police to make a case for prosecution.

Months later, Durborow’s DNA was collected. It matched the DNA found at the crime scene and in October 2020, he was arrested.

“This morning, we made an arrest in the Sherry Black cold case,” Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera told reporters following the arrest. “I do have the individual’s name (that) I can release, and the age. His name is Adam Durborow.”

Detectives continued building a case and soon learned he lived in the area. In fact, ABC4 learned, he once lived blocks from the bookstore.

The search warrant requested all his mail be confiscated. They believed he “potentially stole items from the bookstore.” They learned Black “didn’t maintain an inventory or catalog books” making it possible to sell discretely.

Whether Durborow actually stole items from Black is unclear. The warrant doesn’t answer that question. But according to charges Durborow was never charged with burglary only murder.

While in custody, the search warrant claimed Durborow confessed to murdering Black. He also told detectives he used the “internet” to “follow the investigation” and by reading media stories he soon learned there was “DNA evidence found” at the crime scene.

The search warrant doesn’t offer any detail as to the motive. He had a history of minor skirmishes with the law but never any felonies. The answer may come out in the near future when he goes to trial.
Because of Covid-19 his case, like so many others has been on hold.

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