Man Arrested in 1976 Murder in OC

Man Arrested in 1976 Murder in OC

SANTA ANA (CNS) - A 66-year-old former Marine accused of raping and killing a woman in Orange County 43 years ago faces an extradition hearing in Louisiana today.

Eddie Lee Anderson, jailed in Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana, is accused of killing 30-year-old Leslie Penrod Harris in May 1976, according to Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Anderson was arrested at his home in River Ridge, Louisiana, on Friday, on a warrant charging him with murder with a special circumstance allegation of rape.

Investigators credited advances in DNA technology for the arrest.

Harris was dining with her husband at a Costa Mesa restaurant on May 17, 1976, when she got up and left, but then never returned, Braun said. Her husband called police when she didn't return to the restaurant as it closed at 8:30 p.m.

About 4:30 a.m., May 18, 1976, military police at what was then the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro found a body in a roadway near the base, Braun said. Investigators determined it was Harris and that she had been strangled.

Investigators re-examined genetic evidence in 1997 but did not come up with any new leads.

In August of last year, investigators started using online genealogy databases to search for a suspect, which has helped authorities make arrests in other cold cases. At some point this year, Anderson became a suspect.

Anderson served at the El Toro base in the early 1970s, and at the time Harris was killed he lived less than a mile from the restaurant where the victim dined with her husband before she went missing, Braun said.

Investigators went to New Orleans on Thursday to question Anderson, who provided them with a DNA sample, prompting his arrest on suspicion of murder, Braun said.

Authorities did not say what prior relationship, if any, Anderson had with the victim.

Anyone with information relevant to the case is urged to contact Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (847-6227).

Photo: OC Sheriff's Department

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