Retired plumber, Charles Gary Sullivan, , living quietly in Arizona cabin is arrested for ‘killing 21-year-old woman in 1979’
Police who fear Sullivan, 73, may be a serial killer arrested him on murder charge in August in Arizona
He has been extradited to Nevada and is set for arraignment on Tuesday
Police say he bludgeoned Julia Woodward to death in March 1979
The 21-year-old woman was found in a shallow grave zip-tied with band-aids sealing her eyes shut
Authorities say advances in DNA technology allowed for new forensic testing on items retrieved from the crime scene 40 years ago
The genetic clues revealed, pointed investigators toward Sullivan
Now investigators are also probing Sullivan for connection to other cold case murders in the area, in the same period
Charles Gary Sullivan, 73, [left] was extradited from Arizona to Washoe County, Nevada on Friday charged with murder in connection with the 1979 death of 21-year-old Julia Woodward [right]
A four decade -old cold case may be nearing a solution as a man that some fear may be a serial killer has been arrested and charged with the brutal four-decade old murder of a young woman.
Charles Gary Sullivan, 73, was extradited to Washoe County, Nevada on Friday on a single count of murder in connection with the 1979 death of Julia Woodward.
21-year-old Julia disappeared soon after moving to Reno in February 1979, and a month later her body was found in a shallow grave in the desert near Lemmon Valley.
Her head had been bashed in with a rock – and her eyes were sealed with band-aids, her legs bound with zip-ties, and her mouth gagged with a cloth, KNXV-TV reported.
Police say that advances in DNA technology allowed for new forensic testing on items retrieved from the crime scene 40 years ago – and that the genetic clues revealed pointed investigators toward Sullivan.
Public records show that Sullivan operated plumbing and locksmith businesses in the 1990s, but they appear to be defunct.
In recent years, he had been living quietly with his wife in a small cabin on a remote dirt road outside of Payson, Arizona.
Multiple cold cases in both Nevada and Arizona are undergoing review, sources say. In August, a task force of local and federal agents who descended on the area, arrested Sullivan and combed his property with cadaver dogs.
Law enforcement sources say that investigators are now probing for any connections Sullivan may have had to other murders through the last four decades, fearing he may be a serial killer.
Julia Woodward [photo], disappeared soon after moving to Reno from LA in February 1979. A month later her body was found in a shallow grave in the desert near Lemmon Valley
Sullivan was indicted by a Washoe County grand jury. Detectives from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office cold case unit arrested him in Yavapia County, Ariz., on Wednesday and he was extradited to Reno on Friday. The case is an investigation of several agencies, including the sheriff’s office, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office and the FBI.
“According to some of Sullivan’s own family members and other law enforcement sources, Sullivan could be connected to other murders in Arizona.”
At the top of the list is the murder of 17-year-old Jeannie Smith, whose skeletal remains were found in November 1979 in a shallow grave just a mile from where Julia’s body was found several months earlier.
Like Julia, she died as a result of blunt force trauma, according to investigators.
Jeannie was last seen on October 28, 1978, at he Circus-Circus Hotel in Reno, Nevada. She had been reported as a missing person to Reno Police.
Public records show that the suspected serial killer, Sullivan [photo], who operated plumbing and locksmith businesses in the 1990s, was sentenced to 44 months in prison for the kidnap and false imprisonment of a female hitch hiker in 2007
Investigators are searching for any connection Charles Gary Sullivan has to the murder of 17-year-old Jeannie Smith, [photo], whose skeletal remains were found in November 1979 near where Julia was buried
Sullivan was accused of picking her up along California 20 in Nevada County. She escaped, and Sullivan was given a prison term of just under four years but was paroled to Blythe, California, kolotv reported.
The appellate court decision in that case says that Charles Gary Sullivan picked up a hitchhiker and “drove her to a secluded location with the promise of showing her a hidden vein of turquoise. After hiking along a creek bed and up a tree-lined embankment, defendant handcuffed the woman, zip-tied her wrists and ankles, ordered her to lie on the ground.”
He was accused of telling her, “[T]he only thing that’s going to be involved is sex. We’re just going to be out here for a few days having fun[.]”
At one point, he “hiked back to his van to get something,” and she “was able to cut the zip-ties on her ankles with a pocket knife she had and then escape to the main road, where she was rescued by two men driving by on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).”
The Nevada County, Calif., jury rejected the kidnapping charge and found Sullivan guilty of false imprisonment and making a criminal threat.
Sullivan was sentenced to the maximum amount of 44 months in prison.
Despite the history and allegations, Sullivan’s wife intends to stand by him, neighbor Leilah Duncan told KNXV.
‘She loves her husband, and she says she’s convinced and told me that he would never do such a thing, and she is going to defend her husband,’ said Duncan
Sullivan is being held without bail in Washoe County, Nevada. It was unclear whether he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
He is due in Washoe County Court for arraignment on Tuesday.