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Officials to release new details on 1984 hammer killings cold cases

AURORA, Colo. -- Authorities will release information on Friday morning about a cold case that shocked the Denver metro area more than 30 years ago.

In January 1984, Bruce and Debra Bennett and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa were found dead beaten by a hammer to death inside their home in Aurora.

The couple's other child, Vanessa, was found severely beaten with head injuries but survived.

Friends, family and investigators were stunned by the brutal killings that left police puzzled for decades.

DNA evidence developed in 2010 showed the same person who killed the Bennets also killed Patricia Louise Smith in Lakewood with a hammer about the same time.

The hammer killer is also suspected in at least two other attacks in the metro area during the same time.

Earlier this week, investigators said the cases had reached a "critical stage."

In August 2017, investigators released a composite image of the suspect in the Bennett family homicides that was created using DNA phenotyping.

Police from Aurora and Lakewood and investigators from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will release details on Friday morning.

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