On a glorious summer day in 1985, Steve Rudiger married Cheryl Ann Drace at a swanky golf course near Castro Valley.
Five years later, Rudiger, who worked fabricating truck bodies in Fremont, was fatally stabbed in Chabot Park. The 43-year-old's body was found Dec. 28 1990, just eight months after the couple had decided to call it quits. Drace married another man the next day.
Twenty-three years later, Drace, who's now 58 and lives in San Leandro, and her then-husband, 50-year-old William Joseph De Vincenzi, are facing murder charges in connection to his Rudiger's death. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office announced arrests in the cold case on Tuesday, charging both Drace and De Vincenzi with murder with a special circumstance of financial gain.
"I got a call from my sister on Thursday," Rudiger's daughter, Tami Borja of Spokane, Wash., told NBC Bay Area. "And she said, 'They arrested her.' And I knew. But to actually hear it, I got hysterical."
There wasn't one thing that cracked the cold case, Sgt. J.D. Nelson said, but a confluence of facts, such as new information from witnesses and evidence that was resubmitted and reanalyzed with modern technology. The sheriff's office started working the case in 2010 after they got it from East Bay Regional Park police.
Drace and De Vincenzi, who are now divorced, are in custody at Santa Rita Jail. De Vicenzi was moved from a prison in Victorville, Calif., to answer the murder charges, authorities said.
According to marriage license records, Drace has been married four times. And De Vincenzi, who comes from Boston, has a long criminal history, including being arrested in 2011 by the FBI on charges for trying to rob a bank with a phony pipe bomb, according to the Boston Globe.
Rudiger's nephew Clint Ferreira, who lives in San Diego, said his relatives have long suspected Drace. It seemed odd to them, he said, that she divorced his uncle shortly before his death and married the day after he died. His mother and his grandparents never really got over Rudiger's death, and not knowing -- until now -- who may be responsible for it.
"My grandparents passed without ever really knowing," Ferreira said. "It's been hard."