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Is serial killer to blame for Marine's 1974 death in Long Beach?

March 20, 2012 |  2:10 pm

Oral StuartA U.S. Marine who was identified by authorities 37 years after he was found dead in Long Beach may have been the victim of a serial killer, his brother said.

Long Beach police have asked for the public's help in identifying the suspect who killed Oral Alfred Stuart Jr., 18, and left his naked body at an apartment carport on Spring Street near the 605 Freeway.

For years, Stuart was known only as John Doe No. 155. The cause of his death was undetermined.

But after cold case detectives re-opened the case, they used his Marine-related tattoo to help identify him. Stuart had been classified as a deserter after he failed to return to duty at Camp Pendleton.

In an interview, his older brother Carl Stuart said his family knew that something bad had happened when he disappeared without a trace.

Now, Carl Stuart said he believes his brother may have fallen prey to a serial killer.

At the time of Oral Stuart's death in November 1974, serial killer Randy Kraft was preying on victims along the freeways of Southern California. Kraft was convicted of 16 murders between 1972 and 1983 and suspected of many more. Many of his victims were military men.

Long Beach police could not immediately be reached for comment on any possible suspects.

Stuart's deserter status will now be changed to an honorable discharge. The Marine Corps is planning a full honor guard funeral at his grave. His John Doe marker will be replaced with a headstone.

Anyone with information is asked to call Long Beach Police Department homicide Dets. Bryan McMahon and Steve Dougan at (562) 570-7244. 

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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Long Beach Police Department cold-case detectives have identified Oral Alfred Stuart Jr. as the victim in a 1974 murder case. Credit: Long Beach Police Department.

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