ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — Authorities have announced the arrest of a suspect for the 1998 murder of a 41-year-old Anaheim resident.
On or about April 18, 1998, Irene Ruelaz was suffocated and later found decomposing in her closet under a pile of clothes.
Her family suspected John Andrew Augustin, now 52, of the crime. The family said he has been involved in an abusive relationship with the woman at the time of her death.
Due to the fact her body was badly decomposed, the Orange County Coroner’s Office initially ruled the death to be accidental.
A year ago, the case was turned over to the Orange County Homicide Task Force (OCHTF) for further review.
The task for conducted additional witness interviews and additional forensic tests were done on evidence taken from the victim’s body.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the new findings and decided to have Augustin arrested.
This past Wednesday, a team of detectives with the Anaheim PD located Augustin and took him into custody.
He is currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million bail.
If found guilty on the murder charge, Augustin faces 25 years to life in state prison.
The OCHTF is comprised of members from the police departments from Anaheim, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach and Santa Ana, as well as the OC Sheriff’s department and the OC District Attorney’s Office.