SANTA ANA ( — Santa Ana detectives used cutting edge technology to solve the rape and murder of an Orange County mother three decades ago.

Lynda Saunders, 26, was sexually assaulted and killed on Tustin Avenue in Santa Ana in 1978.

Her friend, Michael Reynolds, was shot in the head, but survived.

Investigators solved Saunders’ murder using DNA from suspect James Brown’s family.

“Brown’s brother had a previous arrest. His DNA was obtained,” said Det. Domingo Cabrera from the Santa Ana Police Department. “We happened to come across a son of (Brown’s). We went and spoke to him and obtained his DNA for comparison.”

Police said a saliva sample from Brown’s son solidified the case.

The Saunders case is the first homicide investigation ever closed in Orange County with forensic technology called “Familial DNA”.

Dianna Archbold, Saunders’ sister, said, “The work that (the police have) done, the fact that I now know that this creep is gone and can’t do this to anyone else… is a huge relief to me.”

Brown, who had a long rap sheet of violent crime, wasn’t arrested because he committed suicide.


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