REDLANDS (CBSLA.com) — Redlands Police announced the arrest of a suspect in the murder of a 23-year-old Perris woman who was found dumped in an orange grove last February.
Sue Robert Seiuli, 34, was taken into custody just after 5 p.m. Saturday in the 900 block of Washington Street in Colton.
Authorities say he murdered Sylvia Marie Flores and dumped her body in a Redlands orange grove west of Alabama Street. Her body was found on February 26.
Detectives believe Flores was working as a prostitute in the City of San Bernardino at the time of her death.
Flores was last seen at a gas station at 6th and H streets in San Bernardino shortly before 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25. Officials say the victim last spoke with friends via text message and phone calls at about noon that day.
Detectives reportedly narrowed their search on Seiuli after a composite sketch and description of a vehicle was released to the public during a Sept. 12 press conference.
Police obtained the sketch and vehicle description after DNA evidence recovered from Flores was matched to that of an unknown suspect involved in a kidnap, rape and assault in the areas of Highland and San Bernardino in 2003. Personal property belonging to Flores was also recovered near the area where the 2003 rape and assault occurred.
Shortly before midnight on April 19, 2003, police allege the suspect contacted a female victim in the 25000 block of Baseline Avenue in the City of Highland. The victim voluntarily accepted a ride from the suspect who drove her to the 2200 block of West Washington Street in the City of San Bernardino where he raped her.
The victim in that incident escaped but police collected DNA samples and submitted them to CODIS, the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.
Authorities said the samples matched Flores.
Redlands Police detectives interviewed the 2003 victim and obtained a composite sketch of the suspect.
The victim from the 2003 kidnapping was assaulted and raped within a short distance of West 7th Street in San Bernardino where police located additional evidence in Flores’ murder, leading detectives to believe the suspect was familiar with that area.
Seiuli is being held without bail on a murder charge.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Corey Hunt at (909) 798-7688 or Redlands Police Dispatch at (909) 798-7681