PASCO, Wash. - A former Pasco police officer was named Thursday as a suspect in a 1986 homicide in Spokane, police said.
Detectives used DNA evidence to identify Richard J. Aguirre, 50, as a suspect in the strangulation of 27-year-old Ruby Doss, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Aguirre was charged this week in connection with a sexual assault that took place last year in the Tri-Cities area, reports CBS affiliate KEPRTV. He was placed on administrative leave from the Pasco Police Department in November and resigned last week, the newspaper said.
"As part of the sexual assault investigation, his DNA was collected and submitted to the Combined DNA Index System," police said in a statement. "His DNA profile matched the DNA profile collected from the 1986 Doss homicide."
Scott Johnson, an attorney for Aguirre, says his client has denied killing Doss. Johnson added that it is no surprise that Aguirre's DNA was found on the woman's body because there is a possibility the two had come into contact with each other.
The Tri-City Herald reported Friday that Johnson declined to say how his client and Doss might have met.
Spokesman-Review archives said Doss was a prostitute and had arrived in Spokane from Detroit not long before her death. Her body was found on Jan. 30, 1986.
Aguirre joined the Pasco Police Department in 1988. He was living in Spokane at the time of Doss' murder, reports KEPRTV.
In addition to being strangled, Doss had a head wound that indicated she had been struck by a blunt object.
Two other women, Mary Ann Turner, 30, and Kathleen DeHart, 37, were also killed in 1986 and 1987 in similar attacks and their cases are unsolved. They also were strangled and suffered blows to the head.
Spokane police are taking a new look at those cases.
Pasco is about 130 miles southwest of Spokane.