Police in Australia have made an arrest in the death of a gay American man more than 30 years ago.
The suspect is an unidentified 49-year-old man who was arrested Tuesday in Lane Cove, a suburb of Sydney, and formally charged with the murder of Scott Johnson, whose body was found at the base of Sydney’s North Head cliff in the suburb of Manly in 1988.
The death of the 27-year-old mathematician, who was in Australia studying for his doctorate degree, was initially ruled a suicide, but a coroner’s report in 2017 determined that Johnson death was the result of a hate crime.
An investigation into the deaths of 88 men in Sydney between 1976 and 2000 uncovered that anti-gay gangs roamed the city looking for gay men to attack, often at so-called “beats” where gay men would often meet. The probe determined that at least 27 of the deaths were anti-gay hate crimes, and that police failed to properly investigate the deaths because of anti-gay bias.
Scott Johnson’s brother, Steve, whose efforts pushed authorities to reinvestigate his brother’s death, said in a statement that the arrest was an “emotional” moment for him and his family “who loved Scott dearly.”