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DNA evidence links rape case to Redlands murder

An arrest has been made in the murder of a 23-year-old woman whose body was found in an orange grove in Redlands on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.
September 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A murder in Redlands in February has been tied to a 10-year-old rape case through DNA evidence. Now police have a composite sketch and hope it will lead them to the suspect.

The murder victim's family made a plea for justice in Redlands Thursday.

Holding his wife's hand, Robert Flores remembers his daughter Sylvia. The 23-year-old, who was working as a prostitute, was murdered earlier this year. Her body was found in a Redlands orange grove on February 26.

"She was a very sweet girl, very nice, very kind to people. She went the wrong way, but she loved life and she loved people," said Flores.

Until recently Redlands Police had very little to go on. But Thursday they announced that DNA found on the victim's body matches DNA found on another victim from a crime committed more than 10 years ago.

In that April 2003 case the victim got into the car of an unknown man on Baseline Street in San Bernardino; he then raped her. Now that there's a DNA match, police contacted the victim in that case to put together a composite sketch of the suspect.

At the time of the crime 10 years ago, he was driving a small car, either burnt orange or dull orange in color, possibly a two-seat hatchback, with black interior.

"What's going to need to happen is people are going to need to come forward to tell us that they might know someone who looks like this or owned a car like that, somebody that's frequented the area, something that's bragged about these things that they've done, and bring that information forward," said Redlands Police Chief Mark Garcia.

The only other possibility is that the guy gets arrested and submits a DNA sample. That would automatically alert the DNA database and give detectives the suspect's name.

Regardless, the family wants justice for Sylvia Flores.

"She's such a sweet girl, and I just want him found and taken out of the street before he hurts someone else," said Robert Flores.

Detectives have reason to believe the suspect is still in the Redlands area. Anyone with information related to the cases is asked to contact Redlands Police at (909) 798-7681.


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