BILLINGS – A recently solved Yellowstone County cold case was the subject of a true crime segment on national television Tuesday.
The Dr. Oz Show, which airs on MTN, featured the story of Linda and Clifford Bernhardt, who were found murdered in their Billings Heights home in the ’70s.
Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder appeared on the show via video call and explained how detectives decided to retest old evidence due to advances in DNA technology in 2004. But when they did, there were no matches in the database.
It wasn’t until over a decade later that the prominence of genealogy testing helped investigators to identify a suspect after over 40 years.
The man, Cecil Caldwell, had been a co-worker of Linda Bernhardt at the time of the murder.
Dr. Oz asked Linder how the closing of the Bernhardt case can help the community heal.
“I think this will help a lot,” said Linder. “This is going to send a message to others that if they have information about these types of cases they need to come forward regardless of how small it might be … We don’t give up on these cases, and we continue to investigate them just as long as we can.”
The Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit continues to investigate other crimes in the county.