BRISTOL TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — There’s been an arrest in a Bucks County cold case we profiled as part of our CBS3 Mysteries series. Robert Atkins of Falls Township was charged Wednesday morning with the 1991 murder of Joy Hibbs in Croydon.
Investigators say Atkins, who lived a few doors down from the married mother of two, killed her, stole from her and then set fire to her home to try and cover up her killing.READ MORE: First-Of-Its-Kind Program At Crozer-Chester Medical Center Encouraging Minority Students To Pursue STEM Careers
The 56-year-old had been a person of interest, but authorities say it wasn’t until his wife told a grand jury what she knew that charges could be brought.
“Atkins, for the past 31 years, has been living free but on borrowed time. Today, we start to collect on that time from him, with interest,” Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said.
Atkins’ ex-wife testified before a grand jury that he came home covered in blood, telling her to gather the kids because they were going to the Poconos. She says she kept quiet out of fear.
“She said Robert Atkins told her that he stabbed someone and lit their house on fire. She said that he put his bloody clothes in the wash and showered,” Weintraub said.READ MORE: Man Killed In Road Rage Shooting In Springfield Identified, Authorities Say
The Hibbs family, who offered a reward at one point, says they have been haunted and waited 31 years for justice to prevail.
Weintraub read a statement from the family: “The immense grief and suffering our family has endured over the three decades will never disappear.”
Weintraub says it was the power of persistence that led investigators and Hibbs’ family to find her alleged killer.
“Everyone matters. No cold case should remain unsolved,” Weintraub said.
Atkins is currently being held without bail at the Bucks County Correctional Facility.MORE NEWS: 'We're Serious With This': Strike Of Casino Workers In Atlantic City Expected Amid Wage Negotiation
CBS3’s Joe Holden and Kerri Corrado contributed to this report.