Leslie Preer’s murder: How DNA linked her daughter’s ex-boyfriend to the case

Leslie Preer’s murder: How DNA linked her daughter’s ex-boyfriend to the case

Leslie Preer’s murder: How DNA linked her daughter’s ex-boyfriend to the case

For 23 years, she lived in the shadow of a question. In her waking hours, she called on God and Montgomery County detectives. In his sleep, he searched for his mother.

“Mom,” she would say. “We need to find out what happened.”

Then another day would go by without Leslie J. Preer, or answers. So she continued — living with the fact that her mother, then 50, had been beaten to death in the upstairs bedroom of her Chevy Chase, Md., home.

Lauren Preer was now 46, with good friends and a good career. She had a Taurus 9mm pistol at home and pepper spray in her purse. And yet he held out hope that one day there would be an arrest and that closure – or something like it – might follow.

On Tuesday, just like in the movies, the call finally came. On the other side was not freedom, but shock – then betrayal and rage.

“We have evidence,” she recalled a detective telling her in an interview. “I’m Eugene Gligor.”

He was boy she had fallen in love with at 16.

“No,” Preer said. “Not.”

The Gligor he knew was sensitive and warm. He now faces a first-degree murder charge in Montgomery County Court, where records show he has yet to enter a plea or obtain an attorney. A family member declined to comment.

In high school, Preer said, she he liked Gligor for his looks—deep brown hair and a big smile—and because everyone liked him, too. He was gregarious and sweet. He was friends with her friends at Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School, where they were both students. They loved going to hip-hop shows and sneaking into country clubs to sled down snow-covered hills. He wanted to be a computer engineer.

Their families lived nearby, Preer said, so they spent time at each other’s homes. Her father would grill, her mother would cook pasta, and they would eat around the kitchen island.

He will join her family on trips to a lake in the Outer Banks and beaches in Delaware and Maryland, she said, where all four played games of Life and Parcheesi.

He never noticed anything out of the ordinary.

“We were just kids,” she said.

Preer said that in the five years they dated, she watched Gligor struggle with his parents’ divorce and he knew that certain of his relatives had volatile tempers. But she said she had never experienced violence with him, nor suspected he was capable of it.

Preer said her mother always spoke fondly of Gligor. It was her father who insisted again and again, “Lauren, there’s something wrong with him.”

They broke up for two years of long-distance dating right after Preer’s sophomore year of college. The conversation took place outside Madam’s Organ, a bar in Northwest DC

He recalled saying something like, “We’re so young. Let’s see what’s there,” and Gligor agreed.

They did not speak for three years.

Then, one Wednesday in May 2001, Leslie J. Preer didn’t show up for work at Specialties Inc., an advertising production company in Northwest DC. The worried coworker and her husband went to their home in the 4800 block of Drummond Avenue. They found blood in the foyer. A short time later, police found Leslie J. Preer dead in a bedroom. A detective later told a reporter that it was “a pretty brutal crime scene.”

Preer said police asked him for a list of close family associates. She said she included Gligor.

On Thursday, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman, Shiera Goff, said “a tip on Eugene Gligor was solicited from one of his neighbors” and that the initial file included “the tip, an interview with the informant and his history criminal. and incident reports that mentioned his name.”

He was not questioned or swabbed, according to police.

Hundreds of Lauren Preer’s friends and family turned out at her mother’s funeral in support. Gligor, Preer said, was not there.

Shortly after the funeral, Lauren Preer recalled, she ran into him in a bar in Bethesda, Md. She said she told him her mother had died and he looked at her and said, “I’m so sorry.”

Years passed. Their high school friends remained close. She said she saw him a few times at events with mutual friends. Then, three years ago, she said, his brother texted her, saying he was worried Gligor would hurt him.

Preer, unsure of what to do and focused on taking care of herself, said she decided not to answer.

His brother, reached by phone Thursday, declined to comment.

She said she last saw Gligor at a DC restaurant after a memorial service for a mutual friend in 2019. She said they spoke “one on one”. Her mother did not intervene in the conversation.

Meanwhile, she thought, the investigation into her mother’s murder he was cold. Immediately after that, the police suspected her father. Preer was certain of his innocence.

He died of septic shock in 2017. Preer said it was indeed a broken heart.

She also said that her father, on several occasions, raised Gligor as a potential suspect. No way, she thought.

So she he said he kept calling the detectives. She kept asking for answers. She kept praying to God and talking to her mother in her sleep.

In September 2022, police said, investigators sent blood from the crime scene to a lab for “forensic genealogical and genetic DNA analysis” — a tool that has been effective for investigators in recent years.

Police did not provide details on how the blood that was given to the lab helped detectives identify Gligor. But he did.

Earlier this month, police said, investigators “collected DNA evidence belonging to Gligor and compared it to DNA recovered from the crime scene. The analysis generated a positive match.”

Detectives obtained an arrest warrant on Saturday and arrested Gligor in D.C. on Tuesday. He is scheduled to be arraigned in the coming days.

“I want to see him,” she said. “I want to give her a piece of my mind.”

Because right now, she said, all she wants to do is scream.