A 66-year-old Florida man was charged Monday in a brutal rape and murder case that has gone unsolved for over three decades.
Using DNA evidence from semen taken off a bed in a Los Angeles-area motel, investigators tracked down Manuel Fraga-Madan — now living in Hialeah, Florida — as one of two alleged perpetrators of the 1984 attacks, Los Angeles Det. Joseph Purcell told the Los Angeles Times
Fraga-Madan was arrested May 1 and charged with murder, with special circumstances allegations of robbery, burglary, lying in wait, rape, and torture, according to a news release by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
He is eligible for the death penalty, although the DA’s office has not yet announced whether it will pursue that option.
The incident took place in July 1984, when 40-year-old Johnny Williams was staying with a 23-year-old woman and her 1-year-old child in a California motel. While Williams was out one day, two men arrived and forced their way into the room, the news release reports.
They were looking for Williams, Purcell said. But when they found the young woman in his room alone, the men allegedly raped her at gunpoint in front of her infant.
The woman then hid in the bathroom while the assailants waited for Williams to return, Purcell said. When he did, they demanded drugs and money.
Williams said he didn’t have any, and the pair shot him once in the leg before proceeding to torture him, Purcell said. They then allegedly shot him dead and fled the scene of the crime.
Police interviewed the woman after the incident, but never made any arrests, Purcell said.
Years passed and the woman of died of natural causes not related to the incident.
Finally, more than 35 years after the attack, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department used DNA testing — a technology not available when the crime took place — to track one of the alleged killers down.
The statute of limitations for rape had already passed, but there was enough evidence to arrest Fraga-Madan on a murder charge. It is not clear if any other suspects have been identified.
Fraga-Madan is currently in a Miami jail awaiting extradition to California, online jail records report. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
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