RACINE, Wis. (TCD) -- Officials arrested a 66-year-old Illinois man more than 20 years after a 37-year-old woman was found dead under a pine tree.
According to the Racine Police Department, on Feb. 24, 2000, Linda Fields was found strangled to death under a "low-hanging pine tree" on in the front yard of 1132 Lake Ave. Investigators collected DNA samples from Fields' body, which reportedly all came from a single unknown male source. The DNA information was entered into databases, but it did not return any matches.
Investigators interviewed witnesses and took DNA samples from five suspects, but those men were cleared.
In 2020, Racine Police Chief Art Howell told the Investigations Unit to look back at the case again, and in April 2021, one of the investigators worked with FBI agents to proceed with an Investigative Genetic Genealogy test. An analyst at the State of Wisconsin Crime Lab sent a DNA sample to Othram Inc. for testing, while other investigators started working on a familial DNA search.
According to the statement, a special agent with the FBI determined that the male whose DNA was taken had a brother and father who were still alive. Officials collected DNA from the brother, and he was eliminated as a suspect. Then, investigators obtained a warrant to collect DNA from the father, who moved from Alabama to Illinois. They retrieved the DNA in February 2023, and it returned as a one in one quadrillion match to the DNA found on Fields' body.
Police arrested Lucas Alonso in Racine for first-degree murder.
According to the criminal complaint cited by the Racine County Eye, Alonso and Fields were at a bar together the night she died and were seen leaving. They reportedly had sex under the pine tree, and he allegedly choked her as she tried to stop him.
TMJ-TV reports Alonso told police Fields was still alive when he left that night.