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Crime News Breaking News

Man Arrested For Delores Rabaya's 1994 Murder In Southern California

After 54-year-old Delores Rabaya was found repeatedly stabbed to death in her bed, police suspected Jesus Velazquez Ayala, a 30-year-old man she'd been seen with at a bar. They've now charged him in her death.

By Megan Carpentier
Jesus Jesse Ayala Arrest Pd

California authorities believe they've solved a 1994 cold case by using DNA to link their original suspect to the crime.

Oceanside Police arrested Jesus "Jesse" Velazquez Ayala, now 58, at the San Diego Airport, they said in a Thursday statement. He's being held on charges of first-degree murder, grand theft auto, automotive theft and burglary, according to jail records, and bail has been set at $5 million.

On New Years Day 1994, Oceanside Police said they were called to the home of 54-year-old Delores Rabaya around 7:00 p.m., where they discovered Rabaya's body, covered in blood, in her own bed. She had been stabbed 27 times, and had five stab wounds to her head, six to her chest and other "defensive wounds showing that Dolores had attempted to fight off her attacker," the police statement said.

Police suspected Ayala from the start, according to the Times of San Diego. The then-30-year-old man, who worked as a caretaker in Carlsbad, been seen celebrating New Year's Eve with Rabaya at a local bar and the two left together.

In their statement this week, police said there was a lack of physical evidence tying Ayala to the crime in 1994, while the Times noted that Ayala fled town shortly after the murder by stealing a car from the home where he had been working.

In 2015 — 21 years after Rabaya's murder — the San Diego County District Attorney's Office reopened the cold case and submitted forensic evidence collected in 1994 for further analysis using "current technology." According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, that evidence included DNA which investigators were able to tie to Ayala.

A warrant for Ayala's arrest was issued in 2016, but he hadn't been seen since 1994.

According to the Times, investigators were able to track Ayala to Mexico and, in cooperation with Mexican authorities, were able to extradite him back to San Diego on the morning of Feb. 9.

Ayala is due back in court on March 1. It's unclear if he has legal representation at this time.

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