Crime

On anniversary of 10-year-old’s slaying, DNA evidence used to show possible face of suspect

This sketch by Parabon Nanolabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia, shows how the unknown suspect who killed 10-year-old Angelica Ramirez in 1994 might look.
This sketch by Parabon Nanolabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia, shows how the unknown suspect who killed 10-year-old Angelica Ramirez in 1994 might look. Special to The Bee

Twenty-five years after the slaying of 10-year-old Angelica Ramirez, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday announced new evidence in the case that investigators hope will help find Angelica’s unknown killer.

Sketches were made of the possible face of the killer using DNA analysis from Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia.

“We are hopeful someone recognizes him and comes forward with information,” Sheriff Mike Boudreaux wrote in a news release. “Any information, however small or seemingly insignificant, can break open this case and bring justice to Angelica’s family.”

The Hanford girl disappeared March 3, 1994, while walking to a bathroom at a Visalia flea market. She was found dead two days later in an irrigation canal in the Pixley area. An autopsy showed that she was strangled to death and had been sexually molested.

“Many DNA samples were collected and compared with the DNA evidence found at the scene, with no success in identifying the suspect,” the sheriff’s office said. “In December 2002, the DNA found at the crime scene was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), the FBI’s DNA database, but no matches were found.”

Investigators then turned to Parabon to provide predictions of physical characteristics and ancestral background using DNA. Boudreaux said DNA phenotyping has helped “agencies around the world solve some of their toughest cases quickly and efficiently, like the Golden State Killer.”

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This sketch by Parabon Nanolabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia, shows how the unknown suspect who killed 10-year-old Angelica Ramirez in 1994 might look if he was 25 years old. TULARE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE Special to The Bee

The sheriff’s office said Parabon’s findings show the suspect having light brown or fair skin color, brown or black eyes, black or brown hair, and likely no freckles. The suspect is also described as most likely of Latino ancestry, coming from the Americas and Europe. The results shows a mixture of Central American and Southwest European ancestry, with smaller contributions from West Europe, Northwest Africa and South America. Three facial sketches provided show how the suspect might look at ages 25, 50 and 75.

All evidence and previous leads in the case are now being re-evaluated.

“For the first time in the 25 years since she was killed, we have a face to this crime,” Boudreaux said.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218, or anonymously through the sheriff’s TipNow Program at 559-725-4194 or tcso@tipnow.com.

Carmen George is a features and news reporter for The Fresno Bee. Her stories have been recognized with Best of the West, George F. Gruner, and McClatchy President’s awards, and nine first or second place awards from the California News Publishers Association. She has a passion for sharing people’s stories to highlight issues and promote greater understanding.


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