ITHACA (TNS) — After 36 years police have determined who murdered a Cornell student working at an Ithaca Red Cross shelter.

David Malcom, 26, of Connecticut, was found stabbed to death at the shelter’s office in Ithaca on Feb. 12, 1987. The previous day he had worked a 24-hour shift.

For more than three decades, police couldn’t solve the murder.

On Friday, Ithaca police announced that with the help of DNA they now know who killed Malcolm.

Police also said that figuring out who the killer was revealed that in his last moment, Malcom was protecting a teenage girl.

During his shift on Feb. 11, a teenage girl came in from the town of Newfield, police said. She had been in a bad situation with her estranged boyfriend and came to the shelter to seek help.

When the boyfriend asked Malcom where she was, he didn’t tell him.

So, the boyfriend, who was not identified and reportedly died in 2019, stabbed Malcom to death, police said

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“Malcom’s heroic actions for not disclosing the whereabouts of the young teen sadly cost him his life,” police said Friday.

Police determined the boyfriend was the murderer through DNA, police said.

At the time of the murder, friends remembered Malcolm as a kind, special person.

“The sheer gentleness of the man made him very special. He also had a wonderful sense of humor,” Nina Miller, told The Post-Standard in 1987 after the murder. She knew Malcom when she was director of Suicide Prevention and Crisis Counseling.

“He was the best of what young people can be. He was idealistic, sensitive, warm, very bright,” she said.

Malcolm also worked at Suicide Prevention and Homes InC.

“He was a wonderful role model for kids,” Miller said. “He was really wise beyond his years.”

Originally the police suspected an associate of Malcom but he is no longer a suspect, police said.

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