DNA Evidence Unlocks 30-year-old Fresno Cold Case

Fresno, CA February 3, 1979. Eight year old Victoria DeSantiago was walking home from a Central Fresno 7-11 with her three year old sister and their dog Benji.

Police say Fernando Caro, then 29, spotted the girls and kidnapped them. But a few miles away investigators say Caro released Victoria's little sister alive.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "Unfortunately took Victoria to an unknown location where she was brutally sexually assaulted prior to being beaten to death."

Three days later police found Victoria's body, nude and tossed in a Clovis ditch. For 30 years, Angelina and Joe DeSantiago were haunted by the mystery of who had killed their little girl and why.

Recently, the DNA evidence that guarded that secret unlocked its weary jaws and pointed directly at Fernando Caro.

Joe DeSantiago said, "When we did get the call it was a good-bad feeling. Good they found somebody, bad we're gonna have to go through this again."

"My heart cannot describe how happy I feel that; I'm just grateful for law enforcement for what they've done," said Angelina DeSantiago.

Caro, now 59, is serving a life sentence in San Quentin for murdering Fowler teens, Mark Hatcher and and Mary Booer in 1980. His death sentence was overturned on appeal.

Bakersfield Police also call this former chemical plant worker their main suspect in the 1980 murders of two teens.

Chief Dyer calls Caro a serial killer. "We know that Fernando Caro has killed at least five children and perhaps even more."

Police say the technology, that failed to point to Victoria's killer three times, advanced so dramatically that the fourth time left no question about who was responsible.

Bakersfield Police are working with Fresno Police on these cold cases and hope to try them together. They also hope for a conviction and another death sentence for Caro.

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