Cops nab James Alan Neal, 72, in the decades-old murder case of 11-year-old California girl Linda Ann O’Keefe in 45-year California cold case in murder of 11-year-old Linda Ann O’Keefe, strangled as she walked home from school in 1973

James Alan Neal was arrested in the decades-old murder case of 11-year-old California girl Linda Ann O’Keefe in 1973
Police arrested Neal, 72, in Colorado Springs, Colorado Monday in the 45-year-old murder case of 11-year-old California girl Linda Ann O’Keefe after age progression images were released
Linda Ann O’Keefe disappeared as she was walking home from school in Newport Beach on July 6, 1973 and her strangled body was found the following day
There were no leads in the case until July 7 last year, 45 years after she was found
Cops released images based on DNA of the suspected killer showing what he might have looked like in 1973 and what he’d look like now
Linda was last seen near a turquoise van speaking to a white man in his mid-20s or early 30s, according to witnesses
Police have arrested James Neal in the decades-old murder case of 11-year-old California girl Linda Ann O’Keefe. Neal from from Colorado Springs, was arrested on Monday with the aid of a DNA-generated progressive image of what her killer might have looked like 1973

Police have arrested the man behind the brutal murder of an 11-year-old Newport Beach girl, finally cracking the 45-year-old case.
James Alan Neal, 72, was arrested in Colorado Springs, Colorado at 6.29am on Tuesday for the murder of Linda Ann O’Keefe, who disappeared on July 6, 1973 in Newport Beach, California according to ABC News. .
The identity of the suspect was aided by genealogical DNA coupled with ‘old-fashioned’ police work, according to Orange County District Attorney Public Administrator Todd Spitzer.
Following a genealogical submission to site Family Tree DNA, authorities were alerted to a DNA hit in the case in January. That pointed to Neal as a suspect.
Investigators located him in Colorado and put him under surveillance and retrieved more DNA from the victim to corroborate their new findings.
‘Our investigators used forensic DNA testing and an online genealogy website to identify the suspect’s DNA as being consistent with DNA left at the crime scene,’ Newport Beach Police Chief John Lewis added.

11-year-old California girl Linda Ann O’Keefe’s body was found strangled to death on July 6, 1973, returning from school

Neal’s DNA was found on the victim and placed into the Combined DNA Index System database where it failed to yield a hit for decades, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a press conference Wednesday.
The association may have been complicated by the fact that Neal went by the name James Alan George Layton at the time of the murder when he lived in Orange County in the 1970s.
The case went cold for decades then on July 7, 2018 – exactly 45 years after she was found – cops released images based on DNA of the suspected killer showing what he might have looked like in 1973 and what he’d look like now.

The case went cold for decades then on July 7, 2018, exactly 45 years after she was found. Police cops released images based on DNA of the suspected killer showing what he might have looked like in 1973 and what he’d look like now
The suspect age progressed to the present day

‘As the Orange County District Attorney,  I am committed to protecting the community. My office will never forget about cold cases,’ Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
He did say that Colorado Springs Police assisted in the investigation.
‘Our hearts go out to the victim and the victim’s family in this case, having to endure decades without answers. We will make sure that the defendant is fairly and justly held accountable in a court of law,’ he added.
O’Keefe vanished in 1973 while she was walking home from school in Newport Beach.
She was last seen near a turquoise van speaking to a white man in his mid-20s or early 30s, according to witnesses.

Linda O’Keefe disappeared as she was walking home from school on July 6, 1973 and her strangled body was found the following day
Linda was a Girl Scout and went missing as she was walking home from school in 1973

Her strangled body was found the following day in a grassy ditch in the Back Bay area.
She was discovered by passing bicyclists who called police.
Her case went cold and her assailant free until July 7, 2018, exactly 45 years after her body was found, when the Newport Beach Police Department announced a lead in her case.

The police department shared a series of tweets in Linda’s voice saying ‘Hi. I’m Linda O’Keefe…Forty-five years ago today, I disappeared from Newport Beach.
I was murdered and my body was found in the Back Bay. My killer was never found. Today, I’m going to tell you my story.’

Newport Beach Police took to Twitter last July to share a series of tweets in Linda’s voice and announce a breakthrough in the case

The Newport Beach police department last year also “live-tweeted” O’Keefe’s story from her perspective, narrating the final day of her life in real-time, exactly 45 years later.

The Twitter campaign did not lead to the suspect’s identification, but it did create an emphasis on the case and opened doors for the case to be pursued with renewed efforts, officials said.
According to police, O’Keefe normally rode her bike to summer school. But that day, she was dropped off.
While waiting to use the school phone, O’Keefe went outside. Her friend later told police a turquoise van stopped next to O’Keefe a few times as she walked.

O’Keefe then called her mother from the school office, and her mother told her she was busy sewing and that she should walk home, police said.
A woman later told police she saw O’Keefe standing next to a turquoise van and talking to the driver — a white man in his mid-20s or early 30s.

But O’Keefe never came home. Her family called the police and officers then joined the search for the 4-foot-tall girl with long brown hair and blue eyes.

That night, a woman who lives in the bluffs above Back Bay remembered she heard a voice scream, “Stop, you’re hurting me,” police said.
The next day, a man visiting that area found O’Keefe’s strangled body, police said.
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Police also explain in chilling detail how a bicyclist found her body while he was looking for frogs among cattails
In one of the tweets, the police department tweet about the dress Linda was wearing when she was last seen
At the time of the murder, a police bulletin [photo] showed a sketch of person of interest
Investigators shared this image of the book bag Linda O’Keefe carried when she disappeared

The department then announced there was a new lead – images of the suspected killer and what he might have looked like in 1973 and what he’d look like now.
The images generated were based on DNA evidence used to predict his eye, hair and skin color as well as face shape.
‘Years have passed since this heinous murder, but the (department) remains dedicated to justice for Linda, and committed to finding her killer,’ the department said.

 

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  1. Pingback: 72-year-old Colorado child murder suspect James Neal, who was arrested for cold case 1973 rape, murder of girl, 11, linked to two other child sex assaults and; There could be more victims – prosecutors – KonnieMoments