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A suspect is in custody after investigators linked him to a nearly 30-year-old murder through bite marks left on the victim’s body.
Sharron Eugene Gadlin, 48, was arrested on Friday for the 1994 murder of Cheri Huss, 39, according to a statement from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. The arrest comes just weeks after authorities obtained a search warrant to test Gadlin’s DNA and compare it to evidence found at the Desert Hot Springs crime scene.
On April 24, 1994, Cheri Huss was found dead at her Palma Drive apartment, according to the statement. The killer stabbed her multiple times and left bite marks and saliva on the victim's body. Huss put up a fight, drawing blood from the killer and providing more physical evidence at the crime scene.
Investigators later determined the blood and saliva came from the same man.
The following morning, Huss’s parents found her partially nude body on the floor of her two-bedroom apartment, according to a 1994 article from The Desert Sun.
As per a 1998 report from the Palm Springs outlet, Huss’s parents voiced their concern that Cheri Huss was being stalked and feared for her safety. Cheri Huss’s worry prompted the concerned parents to visit their daughter when they found her dead on the living room floor.
“She sounded desperate,” said Huss’s mother, Ruth Friedman. “She told us someone had been taking photos of her and hanging up when she answered the phone. It was terrifying.”
Huss’s parents claimed they had an “ominous feeling” when arriving at their daughter’s home. The victim’s dog was outside the locked residence. The porch light was still on. And Huss' car was parked in the street and not in the driveway, where she regularly parked it.
The case went cold, despite regular attempts to match the suspect’s DNA through the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), according to the district attorney’s office. In February 2022, authorities tried their luck by using genetic genealogy, a practice that can link DNA to biological relatives. The Regional Cold Case Team then identified Gadlin as a person of interest.
Investigators determined Gadlin lived in Thousand Palms at the time of the murder, just 12 miles from Huss’s apartment.
On Feb. 14, authorities obtained the search warrant to test Gadlin’s DNA. Four days later, a lab with the Department of Justice confirmed that Gadlin’s DNA matched the samples collected from the 1994 crime scene.
Authorities arrested Gadlin on Friday evening following a traffic stop in Gardena, according to the district attorney’s office.
“I hope Cheri and her family will finally get the justice they deserve and have waited so long for,” said District Attorney Mike Hestrin. “Our cold case team of investigators will continue to use cutting-edge technology to solve old murder cases across Riverside County. Our prosecutors will continue to vigorously prosecute these murderers until we get justice for their victims.”
Cheri Huss was recently divorced from her husband when she died, leaving behind three children aged 14, 13, and 8, according to the Desert Sun. The children were spending the night at their father’s house at the time of the murder.
It was not clear if Huss and Gadlin ever knew one another.
Gadlin is being held at the Southwest Detention Center on $1 million bail, according to jail records. He is scheduled to appear before a judge on March 25.
The Regional Cold Case Homicide Team urges anyone with information to contact them at 951-955-2777 or leave a tip with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
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