DNA leads to charges in 30-year-old child rape, murder

Fresno BeeOctober 20, 2009 

FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno police Tuesday announced an arrest in the 30-year-old murder of Victoria Ann DeSantiago, 8, who was kidnapped, raped and slain in 1979 while on an errand to a convenience store.

Fernando Caro, 59, was arrested in San Quentin Prison, where he is already serving a life term for two other homicides.

Chief Jerry Dyer said DNA technology enabled detectives to link Caro to the killing and will likely lead prosecutors to seek the death penalty in the case. Caro also will be prosecuted for two previously unsolved killings of teens in Bakersfield, he added.

Victoria and her sister, Eva Marie, 3, were abducted near Belmont Avenue and First Street on Feb. 3, 1979, while walking with their dog to the store.

Eva Marie was found safe hours later in the 3500 block of East Ashlan Avenue. Victoria's nude, bludgeoned body was found two nights later at the bottom of a dry creek near Leonard and Ashlan avenues east of Clovis.

"We know he has killed at least five children," Dyer said of Caro, who is serving the life term after a death sentence was overturned in the slaying of two Fowler teens.

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