The District Attorney’s new Cold Case Unit filed its first murder case using genetic genealogy last month against a 64-year-old man accused of killing two young women in the 1980s.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey stood with the families of the two victims – Mary Duggan, 22, and Selena Keough, 20 – while announcing the charges against Horace Van Vaultz Jr.
In 2006, using the most advanced DNA technology at the time, the Burbank Police Department linked the forensic evidence from Duggan’s 1986 crime scene to evidence in the case of Keough, who was killed five years earlier in the city of Montclair in San Bernardino County.
But it did not identify the suspect.
More recently, deputy district attorneys assisted Burbank detectives in matching the DNA evidence from the crime scenes to genetic evidence linking Vaultz to the crimes. They also reviewed investigative material and provided tactical and legal advice to detectives.
Last month, District Attorney Lacey assigned two experienced deputy district attorneys to work full-time with law enforcement agencies to solve cold cases.
“Thanks to advances in technology and forensics, we are now able to virtually reach back in time and find those responsible for these vicious crimes,” District Attorney Lacey said, at the Nov. 15 news conference.
She said she hopes that solving these cases will bring peace of mind to the families of victims.
“With dedicated resources and advancing technology, we can unmask the cowardly murderers who have remained hidden in our community and bring justice to the grief-stricken families who have waited too long for answers.”
to watch District Attorney Lacey’s news conference on this case.