Texas man accused of killing high school grad in 1981 cold case
04/17/2023 1:46 pm PDT
SAN ANTONIO (TCD) -- Using DNA analysis, investigators reportedly have been able to identify a 68-year-old suspect in the death of an 18-year-old woman whose body was found along a highway more than four decades ago.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, on Thursday, June 4, 1981, the female victim’s body was found near Interstate 35 in Comal County. Although the victim was partially clothed at the time of the discovery, officials do not believe she had been sexually assaulted, KENS-TV reports.
Investigators reportedly determined the female died from gunshot wounds, and they tried to identify her through fingerprints and from missing persons reports but were unsuccessful. She was buried as a Jane Doe, and the case went cold.
It wasn’t until 2009 that investigators were able to use DNA technology to identify the victim as Carol Joyce Deleon, the Department of Public Safety said.
Deleon reportedly lived near West Avenue and graduated from Thomas Edison High School days before her death. According to the Department of Public Safety, investigators believe she went to a San Antonio nightclub on June 3, 1981.
According to an arrest warrant obtained by KENS, before she was shot, investigators believe someone "forcibly" held the victim’s neck due to the bruising she suffered. She had been shot in the head six times.
Officials reportedly collected fingernail scrapings during the victim’s autopsy, and in 2010, a DNA profile for Deleon’s alleged attacker was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). However, investigators were unable to find a match at the time.
In 2019, investigators reportedly collected another sample of DNA, which was used to perform genealogy testing that identified three persons of interest.
According to KENS, in November 2021, investigators interviewed a person of interest, Larry Allen West, at his workplace. He reportedly told officials he frequented bars in the area and would pick up younger women, but he denied knowing anything about Deleon. He also provided a DNA sample, and in March of this year, investigators concluded West’s DNA was the closest match to what detectives found on Deleon’s body.
During interviews with West’s ex-wives, the women reportedly told authorities West was violent, and one wife recounted that West allegedly assaulted and raped her repeatedly.
On April 13, the Department of Public Safety announced West was arrested and charged with murder. Bexar County Court records show his bond was set at $125,000, and he was released from jail on April 14.
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