WINDSOR -- Windsor police announced Friday investigators have solved a decades-old murder of a six-year-old girl.

Authorities announced they have identified the person responsible for the 1971 murder of Ljubica Topic. Police said the identification was made possible due to advances in DNA technologies and the extensive collection of evidence back in 1971, at a time when DNA wasn’t even a known tool.

“Ljubica Topic was a little girl with her entire life ahead of her and it was stolen,” says Windsor police chief Pam Mizuno.

At one point, there were more than 500 “persons of interest,” but it wasn’t until Dec. 9 that police say the search for her killer “finally ended.”

“It brings resolution to a community that has always wondered what happened to an innocent little girl on our streets,” says Mizuno.

Police say the man responsible for the abduction, sexual assault and murder of Topic was 22 years old in May of 1971.

Det. Scott Chapman says the man approached Ljubica and her brother and offered them money to follow him down the street.

“He then provided her brother with some change to ride his bike in the other direction. The brother last saw his sister walking south on Drouillard Road,” says Chapman, who was emotional during his statements.Det. Scott Chapman

Her brother told his mom and they couldn’t find her when he returned home. Four hours later, Topic’s body was found in a rear yard of a home on Hickory Road,a short distance from the gate to the rear alleyway. She had been sexually assaulted and murdered.

“This man’s DNA matched separate sources of DNA from the crime scene,” says Chapman. “Based on the nature of the DNA and where it was located we are certain that he is the person responsible.”

Authorities said Topic's killer cannot be identified. He would have been 70 years old.

“This man is recently deceased and we will not be able to release his name publicly as he will never be formally charged.”

He was a Windsor resident who lived in the neighbourhood where Topic was taken from. He was not known to the family. The man spent time in Windsor and ultimately settled in “the Western provinces.”

He was never a suspect in the last 48 years until they developed a “new lead” in the last several months.

“This investigation has been under the command of seven different past Windsor Police Service Chiefs,” says current Chief Pam Mizuno. “Each chief made sure there were continuing efforts to make progress on this case, decades of investigators worked on this case.”

The Topic family, including her brother who was with Ljubica at the time of the abduction, has been notified.

The family wrote a letter of thanks to Windsor police:

“The Topic Family wish to express their immense gratitude to a Detective Chapman, the Windsor Police department and the many detectives, forensics and others whose strategic vision and enduring efforts over these past decades have brought these results. Your compassionate service represents the best of humanity. You have done yourselves, your profession, your community and justice proud. We never gave up hope and you never gave up. Our family owes you a debt of gratitude that can never be paid.”