Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

'Night Stalker' named as suspect in girl's 1984 slaying [Updated]

October 22, 2009 |  4:24 pm

Richard Ramirez

Richard Ramirez, the Southern California serial killer known as the "Night Stalker," was identified by San Francisco police today as a suspect in the 1984 slaying of a 9-year-old girl.

Ramirez, who is on death row for a series of murders more than two decades ago, submitted a DNA sample to detectives Wednesday at San Quentin State Prison, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

Police said he also is under investigation in connection with several other slayings in San Francisco during that time.

Cold-case detectives have reopened the unsolved slaying of Mei Leung, who was sexually assaulted and killed in the basement of a residential hotel in the Tenderloin district. Earlier that day, Mei and her 8-year-old brother were seen home from a friend's house.

Ramirez was known to live in the general area at that time, but police did not say what evidence in the case pointed them to him.

[Updated at 5:48 p.m.: It was a San Francisco police officer, Holly Pera, who helped reopen the unsolved slaying of Mei. Pera was a young officer when Mei was killed and kept an interest in the case, she said at a news conference this afternoon.

She and her partner examined DNA evidence from the crime scene taken when Mei was killed. The sample was run through the Combined DNA Index System, which include DNA samples from criminals. The detectives said they got a hit on Ramirez and took another DNA sample from him to confirm the match.]

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: Richard Ramirez, in court in 1985, displays a pentagram on his palm.

Credit: Los Angeles Times