For 33 years, the notes and photographs detailing the investigation into Alma Noffsinger’s slaying had been gathering dust at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Department.
Her family never got the closure they deserved, and as time passed, it seemed they might never know who took the woman they loved from them.
At the start of 2013, though, a plea from Noffsinger’s family breathed new life into the search for the 29-year-old woman’s killer.
Detectives from the sheriff’s department and independent investigators journeyed to Texas, Chicago and several Ohio counties as they essentially reworked the case from square one.
Those efforts eventually led police to their prime suspect, 58-year-old Steven G. Noffsinger, who was indicted Friday by a special grand jury on a charge of aggravated murder.
“We basically took the original report from 1981 and tracked down every living person mentioned in that report,” Paulding County Sheriff Jason Landers said Friday evening.
Alma Noffsinger, also known as Alma Rosa Delgado, was found beaten to death Dec. 17, 1981, in a blood-soaked bedroom of her home in Oakwood about 15 miles east of Paulding. Steven Noffsinger was always a suspect but was never charged, and the trail went cold, Landers said.
“As far as I can tell, the case has been fairly left alone,” he said.
Steven and Alma were once married but had divorced about seven months before her death.
One of Alma’s sisters approached Landers shortly after he took office in January 2013 and asked whether the department would reopen the case, the sheriff said.
Coincidentally, the department got a call about that time from “Cold Justice,” a documentary series that has its own team, including a crime scene investigator, retired homicide detective and a prosecutor.
Paulding County welcomed the help, and after exhaustive work, especially this year, their collaborative efforts pointed to Steven Noffsinger, who was arrested Friday without incident, the sheriff said.
“It was a very rewarding experience,” Landers said.
He said investigators and the county prosecutor decided it was best to go to a grand jury with the information and called for a special session to focus only on the Noffsinger case.
There were two other cold case homicide files on Landers’ desk – one from 1960 and one from 2007. Both had notes about tips and developments, but the Noffsinger file had no such updates.
Landers said that doesn’t mean the department never received any tips throughout the years, but any new information likely would have been added to the file.
Though he was just a child in elementary school at the time of Alma’s death, Landers remembers hearing often of the case throughout his life.
“In a community our size, these things don’t happen – and when they do, they are a big deal,” he said.