A New York school bus driver who took his own life in 2019 after being questioned by authorities about the 1994 murder of an 81-year-old woman was identified Thursday as her alleged killer.

A recent fingerprint match and lead identified Jeremiah Guyette as the suspected suspect in the death of Wilomeana “Violet” Filkins, police in East Greenbush, south Albany, said.

She was found beaten to death in the living room of her apartment on August 19, 1994. WNYT of Albany, an NBC affiliate, reported.

Wilomeana «Violet» Filkins.East Greenbush City Police via Facebook

Guyette, who served in the Air Force in Florida and also drove a senior bus, was interviewed after the killing but was never considered a person of interest, East Greenbush police Detective Sgt. Michael Guadagnino told reporters.

A former girlfriend later tipped off authorities about Guyette, saying she started crying when he told her he had robbed a woman and hit her, Guadagnino said.

«This can’t be true,» the ex-girlfriend recalled telling him, according to Guadagnino. «I’m sure she’s fine.»

On Oct. 1, 2019, when Guadagnino and a New York State Police investigator tried to talk to Guyette about the murder, he became defensive and visibly upset, Guadagnino said.

Guyette refused to speak to authorities without an attorney, Guadagnino said.

The next morning, authorities found him dead in the garage of his home in Rosendale, nearly 70 miles south of East Greenbush, Guadagnino said. An autopsy found that Guyette had taken her own life, he said.

Investigators then resubmitted all of the physical evidence from the original case, including a wooden coffee table with an unknown fingerprint, not knowing if anything would match Guyette, Guadagnino said.

Three years later, after covid leaked to the state crime lab and delayed forensic findings, the fingerprint was determined to match Guyette’s left thumb, Guadagnino said.

A tip from a family member last year confirmed Guyette’s involvement, Guadagnino said: On Oct. 1, 2019, the same day Guyette was approached by authorities, he called her in a panic and told her he didn’t want to go to prison.

Guyette told the relative that when he was younger, he planned to rob a bank and steal a car to get money for college, the relative told authorities, Guadagnino said.

“Someone had died but he didn’t want to talk on the phone anymore,” Guadagnino said.

The relative arranged for Guyette to meet with a lawyer, which authorities confirmed with the lawyer, Guadagnino said.

During the press conference, Filkins’ niece, Carole Filkins, thanked the authorities and remembered her aunt as a simple woman who lived quietly and «would never have imagined something like this would happen.»

«We are all very grateful that it has been resolved,» he said.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255text HOME to 741741 or visit TalkingSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.