SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — On Dec. 19, 1976, Janet Stallcup was on her way to a party in Garden Grove, but the 19-year-old nursing student never made it to the event.
Eight days later, police found her body about 2.5 miles from her apartment. She had been raped and murdered. For years the case remained unsolved.READ MORE: Remains Found In Ballona Wetlands ID’d As Missing Woman Kolby Story
In 2002, investigators got a break in the case after the Orange County Crime Lab was able to obtain a single-source male DNA profile from swabs taken at the crime scene. However, the profile did not end up matching with any other profile in the national database.READ MORE: Horse Airlifted To Safety After Falling Into Ravine In San Diego County's Carmel Valley
It wasn’t until 2020 that Garden Grove police asked the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to open an investigative genetic genealogy investigation into Stallcup’s death. That investigation led to Terry Dean Hawkins, who died in the Orange County Jail in 1977, being identified as the person responsible for the woman’s rape and murder.MORE NEWS: High-Speed Pursuit With Stolen Car Ends With Crash In Paramount
“We know who killed Janet Stallcup because generations of law enforcement officers refused to give up on finding her killer,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. “Advances in technology and DNA is breathing life back into cases that have grown cold over the years. Justice that had been evasive for decades is now at our fingertips hidden away in DNA.”