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Rialto cold-case murder solved; new unit launched

September 19, 2013 5:57:58 PM PDT
An attempt to solve a cold case in Rialto has turned up a suspect who is now awaiting trial for murder. The case led Rialto police to launch a cold case unit.

"My mom, I knew she needed closure before any of us did," said Sarah Kelso.

More than a decade ago, Sarah and Jennifer Kelso's brother Brandon was stabbed to death. At the time, Rialto police released surveillance video of a person of interest. But the case eventually went cold.

"Every time we've tried anything, nothing can be done. It's been too long. Unless somebody comes forward, that's it," said Sarah Kelso.

That all changed when the case landed on Sgt. Paul Stella's desk.

"I did a little bit of investigation on my end, and included that in the case, resubmitted the case to the D.A.'s office, and they felt at that time there was enough to file charges," Stella said.

His investigation identified two suspects. One had died of a drug overdose. The other suspect, Jose Jordan, was already serving time for another crime when Stella paid him a visit in prison.

"Once I told him he had a murder warrant for a 15-year-old murder, the look on his face spoke volumes," Stella said.

As a result of Kelso's case, the Rialto police launched a cold case unit. So far, Stella and his partner, Cpl. James Mills, have solved four cold cases in the past three months.

They're now working to solve the murder of Rebecca Ann Simons, a young mother who disappeared after running an errand.

"She was 18 at the time when she was found murdered, and she had a 2-year-old daughter," Stella said.

It's been 11 years, but in the two case books, a small clue or lead may crack the case.

"We never forgot about their loved ones, we never put their case to rest, in that we got it resolved. I think that's the biggest reward out of all this," Stella said.

For the Kelso family, it brought a sense of relief and much more.

"Time didn't matter," said Jennifer Kelso. "Now we get to have some kind of closure, some kind of peace."

Anyone with information can contact the Rialto Police Department Cold Case Unit at (909) 820-2632 or (909) 421-4990.

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