HomeWorldDNA links same man to 2 cold case murders from the 1980s

DNA links same man to 2 cold case murders from the 1980s


More than 30 years after two women were found dead in separate slayings, police and local officials in Orange County, California say they were finally able to solve the murders. After an ongoing investigation by the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices, specifically employing the latter’s investigative genealogy unit, DNA evidence revealed that both homicides were committed by the same man.

Reuben J. Smith, a former resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, was originally identified last year as a possible suspect in the slayings of Shannon Rose Lloyd and Renee Cuevas in 1987 and 1989. The women were 23 and 27, respectively, when they were killed. in Garden Grove, an Orange County city between Anaheim and Santa Ana.

Smith was arrested in Las Vegas in 1998 for sexual assault and attempted murder of another woman, and committed suicide the following year. according to to the Garden Grove Police Department. Two decades after the Orange County Crime Laboratory first linked the Lloyd and Cuevas murders, DNA profiles taken from the crime scenes were compared to evidence collected during Smith’s arrest. According to the Garden Grove Police Department, all three samples were a match.

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Orange County, California officials said they were able to link two unsolved murders to the same man after more than 30 years.

Garden Grove Police Department/Facebook


Lloyd’s body was discovered on May 21, 1987, inside a room he was renting at the time in Garden Grove. A subsequent autopsy indicated that she had been sexually assaulted and determined that strangulation was the cause of her death. Nearly two years later, Cuevas was found on the side of a highway on February 19, 1989.

“Although their lives can never be replaced and the tragedy of what happened to these victims has been undone, the relatives and family of Shannon Rose Lloyd and Renee Cuevas can be relieved to hear today that DNA testing using new technology, such as genetic genealogy, were able to connect Reuben J. Smith to his murders more than 30 years ago,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. statement.

“While full justice cannot be served due to the fact that the suspect died more than 20 years ago… the district attorney’s office and local law enforcement can take pride in bringing comfort and peace to those affected by the horrific murder of these two young women, as well as furthering the cause of defending the rights of these victims,” ​​the statement continued.

The resolution of the unsolved cases of Lloyd and Cuevas came as part of an ongoing effort by Spitzer’s office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to close other unsolved cases. Garden Grove police have asked anyone with information about Smith, and particularly the time period during the 1980s that he lived in Orange County, to contact local law enforcement.





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