(AP) A 53-year-old man was charged Friday in the 2008 killing of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student who was found strangled and stabbed in her downtown apartment.

David Kahl

Madison police said David Kahl was charged with first-degree intentional homicide — 12 years after 21-year-old Brittany Zimmermann was killed. Kahl is in custody on unrelated charges. Court records did not list an attorney for him yet in the murder case.

Zimmermann was studying medical microbiology and immunology when she was killed. At the time, police said she had just returned home from classes when someone followed her into her apartment. She lived with her fiance and their three cats at the time.

Police said they continued to search for a suspect for nearly 12 years, conducting hundreds of interviews and processing countless pieces of evidence. Over the years, her parents have repeatedly asked anyone with information to come forward, and there have been rewards offered in the case.

“The dedication and persistence of those tasked with investigating this case — past and present — has never wavered,” police said in a statement.

Zimmermann’s parents, Kevin and Jean, released a statement Friday thanking police and prosecutors for not giving up, and thanking friends and family for their support.

“Having charges filed is just the beginning of justice for Brittany, which is what we have wanted from the start of this horrible tragedy,” the statement said. “Nothing will bring our beautiful daughter back and we continue to feel that pain every day.”