A Massachusetts man was arrested Thursday night in the stabbing death of an elderly Farmington woman last June.

Juan A. Contreras, 27, of 92 Chester Lane in Waltham, was arrested in his hometown around 6:45 p.m. by Waltham police and Massachusetts State Police, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Contreras was being held as a fugitive from justice and is expected to appear in a nearby court today. He will face murder charges once he has been extradited to Maine, police said.

McCausland said police believe Contreras was living in Farmington at the time of 81-year-old Grace Burton’s death.

Investigators said at the time that the assailant had cut a screen and entered through the unlocked window in the back of Burton’s first-floor apartment in an elderly housing complex. Burton called 911 after she was stabbed and died from her wounds later that morning at the hospital.

The arrest came after DNA analysis was completed this week at the state police crime lab in Augusta. Police previously had said they found a significant amount of the assailant’s blood at the scene.

The homicide shocked the rural northern Franklin County town of about 7,700 residents and home to he University of Maine at Farmington.

At a forum in July, Farmington police offered public-safety tips, hoping to address growing fears in the community about the homicide and a series of other home invasions in neighboring towns.

In September, Burton’s family members announced they had raised more than $14,000 as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Burton’s killer.

“There will be no closure until the guy is caught, and we won’t have to be wondering anymore who it was. We need to see this guy brought in and to see justice served for our mother,” Robert Butterfield, the eldest son of Grace Burton, told the Morning Sentinel in September.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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