Alma Jones was raped and murdered more than 40 years ago.
Police said the unsolved case was revived in 2011 when the box it was stored in had been discovered during a transfer of older case boxes.
Raleigh homicide detectives continued to follow up over the years.
Police said a DNA profile for the suspect was developed and a man named Paul Crowder was identified as the person responsible.
However, Crowder died in 2015.
Raleigh police told ABC11 that Crowder was 35 at the time of the murder and lived in the same neighborhood as Jones.
Police got a saliva sample from Crowder's family member, which confirmed that he was the person responsible.
"While we recognize that this conclusion will not ease the pain and loss the family has experienced, we are pleased that they finally have resolution to something they have lived with for a long time," said Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson in a statements. "Diligent, thorough investigation and follow-up by detectives have led to this moment."