This morning LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference to announce the arrest of man connected with the 1996 killing of a 17-year-old girl from Boyle Heights.
"After almost a quarter-century, the man suspected of killing a 17-year-old girl was identified and slated to face arraignment. On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Homicide Bureau detective, Lieutenant Hugo Reynaga, discussed the circumstances surrounding the young girl's death, how they located the suspect and how he was brought back to face justice.
On Tuesday, January 30, 1996, the partially-clothed body of Gladys Arellano was discovered at the bottom of a ravine in the Topanga Canyon area of Malibu. The last time she was last seen was three days earlier at her Boyle Heights home, and she was reported missing by her family one day before her body was found.
The results of an autopsy concluded the teen was sexually assaulted, beaten, and strangled to death. Serology evidence was collected from her body, and a DNA profile was uploaded into state and federal DNA databases as that of an unknown offender. Although an extensive investigation was conducted, no match was identified through the DNA databases, and the case remained unsolved.
On Sunday, November 10, 2019, virtually two and a half decades later, a man named Jose Luis Garcia, was arrested by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)-Mission Division personnel for a domestic assault charge. A DNA sample was collected from him during the booking procedure and uploaded into the state DNA database.
In December 2019, detectives assigned to the Homicide Bureau-Unsolved Case Unit received an alert on the DNA collected during the LAPD-Mission Division jail booking, which returned as a match to the evidence collected in the Gladys Arellano homicide investigation. Detectives Joe Purcell and Shaun McCarthy contacted Garcia at his home in Fontana and asked about his knowledge of the Arellano murder; Garcia was 19 years old when it happened. They obtained a DNA sample from Garcia for comparison and submitted it for forensic testing. Serologists analyzed it and determined Garcia's sample matched the unidentified donor's sample obtained in 1996 from the body of Gladys Arellano.
After the detectives' visit, and as the new DNA sample was processed, detectives learned Garcia relocated to Dallas, Texas. An arrest warrant for Garcia, 43, was obtained, and Detective Purcell notified U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Forces personnel in Dallas.
On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, Garcia was arrested by task force personnel in Dallas. He was extradited to California on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, arraigned for the charge of Murder on Monday, October 19, 2020, at Van Nuys court, and is being held in lieu of $1 million bail."
It's a horrible story, but hopefully the solving of the case can finally bring some closure to Gladys Arellano's family. It's so amazing that we can bring down these bad guys years later. Steve Gregory was at the news conference this morning, and joined us after to discuss the investigation: