A man who allegedly murdered his 6-year-old sister has been arrested as the result of DNA evidence examined by a new Los Angeles-area police “cold case” unit, the Los Angeles Times reports. The body of the badly beaten girl, Patricia Lopez, was discovered in a storm drain in 1987, but the case has languished for two decades as police focused on several suspects outside the victim’s family.
Authorities believed Lopez, the victim, might have been killed by gang members, whose presence was increasing rapidly in Santa Ana in those days, the Times says. Detectives said her brother Resendo Lopez was never seen as a suspect until the new unit established last year discovered a DNA link. On Thursday, Lopez, a factory worker who lives with his mother, voluntarily responded to detectives’ request to be interviewed without a lawyer about his sister’s death. Investigators said when they presented the DNA evidence against him, Lopez did not dispute it.