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L.A. cold-case detectives arrest man in 1982 murder

November 20, 2009 |  9:58 am

More than 27 years after Hazel Hughes' body was found by her nephew inside her Koreatown apartment, Los Angeles cold-case detectives have arrested a suspect for capital murder.

Victor Alvarez was arrested and charged earlier this month for the Aug. 16, 1982, murder of Hughes at her apartment on 4th Street near Vermont Avenue. Alvarez sexually assaulted Hughes during a burglary at her apartment before killing her, prosecutors allege.

Because of those special allegations, prosecutors could pursue the death penalty against Alvarez.

Hughes, 65, was one of two women whose bodies were found inside the 60-unit apartment building within 12 hours. Alvarez is also being investigated in the killing of Cordella Ferguson, 67, whose body was found the same day as Hughes'.

Ferguson's body was found by a maid. Hughes was discovered by her nephew when relatives became concerned that the sickly woman, who used a wheelchair or walker, did not answer her telephone.

Hughes' apartment at the six-story building was ransacked during the break-in. Investigators plan to reveal at a news conference this afternoon how they identified Alvarez with the help of scientific evidence.

-- Richard Winton

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