Arrest Made in 27-Year-Old Murder Case

PHOTO: Tina Faelzs lifeless body was found in a drainage culvert on a pathway behind her high school in 1984.PlayHandout
WATCH DNA Match Leads to Arrest in 27-Year-Old Cold Case

A former classmate of high school student Tina Faelz was arrested Sunday, 27 years after Faelz was found stabbed to death, killed while walking home from school.

Officers from the Pleasanton Police Department in Calfornia said they had arrested a 43-year-old Santa Cruz man after they uncovered biological evidence that they say linked him to the murder.

"We put together a probable cause to arrest him based on interviews with witnesses and the biological evidence we got back," said Lt. Jim Knox of the Pleasanton Police Department. "He didn't express a lot of emotion. ... It wasn't consistent with what you would expect."

Since the murder occurred when the suspect was a minor, his name has not been released. The case must be cleared through the juvenile courts -- a process that is taking place this week.

The man was already in custody for unrelated drug charges when police found a link to Faelz. He was arrested for the murder upon his release. Faelz and the suspect attended the same high school when the crime was committed.

Faelz, who was 14 at the time of the crime, was found in a drainage area adjacent to Interstate 680 on April 5, 1984. She had been fatally stabbed as she walked home from Foothill High School. Her classmates found her body.

Police underwent an extensive investigation at the time but couldn't pinpoint a suspect or locate a murder weapon. The case has remained open and unresolved for nearly three decades.

"It is very gratifying to have the many long hours our department has invested into this case result in some possible closure," said Pleasanton Police Chief Dave Spiller in a statement. "It has been very hard on the family of the victim and the community, which was devastated that this calber of crime occurred here."

The Pleasanton Police Department began to re-examine old evidence in 2007, specifically to look for new clues that may be uncovered by updated scientific methods that weren't available in 1984.

Evidence was resubmitted to two different laboratories for evaluation and examination. Last October, the department was notified that a FBI lab in Quantico, Va., had uncovered evidence that led to the identification of Faelz's alleged killer.

The suspect is expected to have a hearing as early as Wednesday.