It's a good year for forensic science as California authorities on Tuesday arrested a Hayward man suspected of killing Stanford graduate Leslie Perlov in Palo Alto in 1973.
The murder of 21-year-old Perlov remained unsolved for decades until a criminalist with Cold Case Investigators located an unknown male DNA profile on evidence provided by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, authorities said.
The DNA led to John Arthur Getreu, 74, who was interviewed by Sheriff’s Office Investigators, according to officials. He was later arrested at his home in Hayward.
Investigators said they worked with Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia, who helped analyze the unknown DNA profile by using advanced DNA testing and traditional genealogical methods to establish the relationship between the unknown subject and their ancestors.
"Upon receiving Parabon’s report, the Sheriff’s Office continued to investigate the murder of Leslie Perlov. As a result, John Arthur Getreu was identified as a suspect in our investigation," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
Authorities then obtained Getreu's DNA, and positively matched it to the unknown DNA found in evidence.
Perlov was last seen Feb. 13, 1973, around 3 p.m. at her last place of employment in Palo Alto. Her vehicle was discovered at the gate of an old quarry located near the intersection of Old Page Mill Road and Page Mill Road.
Three days later, officers located Perlov's body under an oak tree west of where her car was abandoned. Getreu is killing Perlov by strangulation, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Getreu has been booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
Earlier this year, authorities in California have great success in using DNA genealogy to identify and arrest suspects of cold case murders.
Authorities identified and arrested the infamous Golden State Killer who terrorized California suburban neighborhoods in a spate of brutal rapes and slayings in the 1970s and '80s, as well as the NorCal rapist who tormented victims for a 15-year period beginning in 1991.