New Mexico man arrested in 1980 murder, sexual assault of 79-year-old Anaheim woman

City News Service
Friday, April 30, 2021
Viola Hagenkord (pictured) was found dead in her Anaheim apartment on February 18, 1980. Police announced Friday an arrest has been made in her murder.
kabc-Anaheim police

ANAHEIM, Calif. (CNS) -- A 64-year-old man was awaiting extradition Friday on charges related to the sexual assault and killing of a 79-year-old woman in her Anaheim apartment 41 years ago, police said.

Andre William Lepere of Alamogordo, New Mexico, was arrested Wednesday on a murder charge, according to Anaheim police Sgt. Shane Carringer. Lepere is being held without bail in Otero County in New Mexico, where he's awaiting extradition hearings, Carringer said.

Lepere is accused of raping and killing 79-year-old Viola Hagenkord, who died of asphyxiation, Carringer said. Lepere lived near the victim in Anaheim, but was not previously acquainted with her, Carringer said.

Police were called to her apartment in the 2500 block of West Winston Road on Feb. 18, 1980, when a concerned neighbor who hadn't seen her for two days, which was unusual, entered her apartment and found her body, Carringer said.

The case went cold until September of last year when detectives took another crack at it with help from the Orange County Crime Lab and the FBI's Orange County Violent Crime Task Force. Together, they were able to develop DNA evidence that linked Lepere to the crime, Carringer said.

Lepere made a living as a truck driver and plumber, and has lived in New Mexico since the 1990s, Carringer said. He is twice divorced and was unmarried at the time, Carringer said.

Lepere is charged with murder with a special-circumstance allegation of rape during a murder, Carringer said.