VACAVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A suspect was arrested in the slaying of a Northern California teenager who went missing after attending a neighbor's party 34 years ago, police said Wednesday.
Marvin Ray Markle, 51, was arrested Tuesday in connection with the 1982 killing of 14-year-old De Anna Lynn Johnson. A longtime suspect in the case, Markle was 17 years old at the time, Vacaville Police Chief John Carli said.
Markle is serving a sentence of 80 years to life for the 2001 killing of Shirley Pratt in Butte County.
De Anna attended a party on Nov. 15, 1982, at a neighbor's home in Vacaville, but she didn't return home. Her battered body was found the next day along railroad tracks.
Markle attended the same party and was questioned in the case, which soon went cold.
"It has been a long, hard and emotional struggle to face each day of the 34 years, while De Anna's murderer walked free and lived life," De Anna's mother, Ginger Dimpel, said. "Her family, friends and the entire community never gave up on seeking justice for her."
Detectives again zeroed in on Markle after he was arrested in 2013 for Pratt's slaying.
Vacaville Police Detective Matt Lydon tells the FOX 40 TV station that investigators have been piecing the case together for three decades. "Some pieces in the '80s, some pieces in the '90s and to the 2000s . it's not one piece of evidence, it's all pieces to the puzzle," Lydon said.
Mary Borchers, a friend of De Anna, believed Markle was responsible all along and once confronted him at his home. "I remember he said to me 'You'll never get me Mary,' as he was spitting on me, and I said 'Count my words, honey, I will get you,' " Borchers said.
Markle was transported from Kern Valley State Prison to the Solano County, where he is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.