DNA found in a suburban Los Angeles motel room 35 years ago has helped crack a cold case — the murder of a man and the rape of a woman.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Manuel Fraga-Madan’s arrest in the decades-old, unsolved case Monday. The 66-year-old man was arrested Friday at his home in Hialeah, Fla., prosecutors said.
The crimes took place in a motel room in Lennox, Calif., on July 12, 1984.
Prosecutors said Fraga-Madan and an accomplice forced their way into a motel room where Johnny Williams, 40, was staying with a 23-year-old woman and her 1-year-old son.
They said the woman was raped at gunpoint in front of the baby as they waited for Williams to return.
“When Williams returned to the room, the two men demanded money and drugs from him,” the DA's office said in a news release. “When Williams said he had neither, he was shot and killed, and the two men fled.”
The woman was hiding in the bathroom when Williams was shot, the Los Angeles Times reported.
DNA from the room matched with Fraga-Madan’s DNA, which was on file in a criminal database, the paper reported. He had a rap sheet mostly for drug crimes in California and Florida.
The DNA consisted of semen found on the mattress.
Advances in DNA testing allowed detectives to reopen the case.