LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Thanks to DNA evidence, authorities have charged a man in connection with the murder and sexual assault of a Boyle Heights teen whose body was found in Malibu nearly 25 years ago.
Jose Luis Garcia, 42, of Dallas, Texas, has been arrested on murder charges in the violent 1996 slaying of Gladys Arellano, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported Wednesday.
Arellano’s body was found in a Topanga Canyon ravine on Jan. 30, 1996. She had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled to death, the sheriff’s department reports. No suspects were identified at the time and the case went cold.
“At the time of the initial murder investigation, serology evidence was collected from Glady’s body and subsequently a DNA profile was uploaded into state and federal DNA databases as an unknown offender,” said Lt. Hugo Reynaga.
On Nov. 10, 2019, Garcia was arrested by LAPD officers on domestic assault charges and a DNA sample from him was taken and placed into the state’s DNA database, the sheriff’s department reports. He was later released.
Investigators this year matched his DNA to DNA which had been collected from Arellano’s body.
On Sept. 29, Garcia was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Dallas.
“We recognize that this will not bring Gladys back, but we are relieved to know that there will be justice for Gladys Arellano, who would have celebrated her 42nd birthday on Saturday, Oct. 24th,” Arellano’s niece Samantha Moreno said at a news conference with L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Garcia was extradited to L.A. on Oct. 14 and arraigned Monday in L.A. County Superior Court in Van Nuys, the sheriff’s department reports.
He is being held on $1 million bail. Police said no motive for the murder has been determined.