DNA EVIDENCE WARMS UP A COLD CASE, SOLVING ONE OF THE OLDEST KIDNAP / MURDER / RAPE CASES IN ORANGE COUNTY

OCDASeal

Orange County Sheriff’s Department
Orange County District Attorney’s Office
Press Release


For Immediate Release
December 10th, 2004

On Sunday, October 29, 1972, at approximately 5:30 A.M. 23-year-old Marla Jean Hires, the married mother of a two-year-old left her residence in the city of Stanton. She never arrived to work.

Approximately 3.5 hours later, a maintenance worker at the Yorba Linda Country Club observed a large bundle of carpet lying on the Golf Course.

That evening, Mrs. Hires’ husband and parents reported her missing.

On October 30th, the same maintenance worker took a closer look at the carpet and observed human feet protruding from inside.

Investigators discovered the body of a female, later identified as the missing woman. She had been strangled to death.

Later that day, her vehicle was located, abandoned with the car keys in the ignition at a bank teller’s drive-up window.

Evidence was obtained from the victim, DNA profiling was performed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Forensic Service division in 1997. Orange County Sheriff’s Investigators conducted additional follow-up investigations during 1998 until the trail went cold. The evidence was subjected to further DNA testing and entered into the CODIS / NDIS databanks.

In late October 2004, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department began investigating a DNA match. The profile matches an Ohio killer who was in custody for another murder of a 21-year-old female and the abduction of two teenagers. “We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the crime solving capabilities of DNA technology. Every criminal should know that when they commit a crime, they leave a genetic fingerprint and we will use every resource available to match their DNA and ensure that justice is served,” said Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office issued a murder complaint against the suspect. On December 1, 2004, Sheriff Investigators obtained a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. The suspect may be linked to additional kidnappings, murders and sexual assaults.

“We are helping to bring closure for all those who loved Marla Hires.” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “We will never give up looking for those who commit these brutal rapes and murders. DNA technology has caught up with Mr. Richardson and now he will never get out of prison.”

“This illustrates the remarkable power of DNA to overcome time, distance and the absence of useful leads to solve a horrible crime,” Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro said. “It also represents what can happen when law-enforcement agencies share information without regard to jurisdictional boundaries and state lines.”

On Monday, December 6, 2004 at 10:00 A.M., a press conference will be held at the Brad Gates Forensic Building at 320 North Flower Street in Santa Ana. The conference will be conducted by Sheriff Michael S. Carona, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Sheriff Thomas McCort from Belmont County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio. Pictures of the victim and the suspect will be released along with additional information at that time. For further information, please contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at (714) 647-7042.