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DNA links 76-year-old rape suspect to killings of two women that had been unsolved for decades

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A 76-year-old man suspected of a 2021 rape has been arrested in the killings of two women that had been unsolved for decades, authorities in California said.

James Ray Gary, of Fairfield, was arrested last week in the 1980 killing of Latrelle Lindsay of Union City and the 1996 killing of Winifred Douglas of Berkeley, the Solano County Sheriff's Office said.

DNA collected during a 2021 rape investigation matched DNA collected from both crime scenes. On July 18, the office was notified that a DNA sample from Gary matched all three crimes. A warrant was obtained for his arrest and to search his home. He was arrested the following day, officials said.

It was not immediately known if Gary has an attorney who can speak on his behalf. The Solano County Public Defender and the Solano County District did not immediately return phone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

In July of 1980, Lindsay, 46, of Union City, was found dead inside her home. She had been raped and strangled, police said.

"At the time, no suspects were identified in this killing. A DNA sample was later sent for entry and search in a law enforcement database, but no match was made," the Union City Police Department said in a statement.

James Ray Gary Solano County Sheriff's Office

Douglas' body was found in March 1996 hidden among bushes along Highway 780 in Vallejo. An autopsy determined that she had been asphyxiated and suffered blunt-force trauma to the head and neck.

"We are hoping that this arrest can bring some closure to the family and friends that have been seeking justice for as much as 40 years," the sheriff's office said.

Gary was booked into Solano County Jail for homicide and is being held without bail.

Anyone with information about the 1996 Solano County homicide is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 70-784-7050. People with information on the 1980 Union City homicide are asked to contact police at 510-675-5227.

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