LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A man arrested on suspicion of killing a 17-year-old Boyle Heights girl in 1996 pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge.

Gladys Arellano, seen here in an undated photo, was found murdered in a Topanga Canyon ravine on Jan. 30, 1996 at the age of 17. (LASD)

Jose Luis Garcia, 43, was arrested in September in Dallas, Texas on suspicion of killing Gladys Arellano, whose partially clothed body was discovered at the bottom on a ravine in Topanga Canyon Jan. 30, 1996.

Evidence collected at the time of crime showed that Arellano had been sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. The DNA profile collected from the scene was uploaded to both state and federal databases, but a match was not immediately returned.

On Nov. 10 of last year, Garcia was arrested by Los Angeles police officers on suspicion of domestic assault. His DNA was collected and a profile was run through the California database and appeared to be a match for the 1996 slaying, the sheriff’s department said.

The DNA match was confirmed after detectives obtained an oral swab, the department said.

Garcia is being held on $1 million bail and was ordered to return to court Dec. 1 for a preliminary hearing.


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