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Fairfield man, 76, arrested in connection to 2 cold case murders dating back decades

FAIRFIELD – Detectives say a 76-year-old Fairfield man has been arrested in connection to two cold case homicides in Northern California that date back decades ago.

The Solano County Sheriff's Office says the first of the two cases happened in July 1980. Latrelle Lindsay, a 46-year-old Union City woman, was found dead in a home from strangulation and blunt-force injuries. She appeared to have been sexually assaulted.

While a DNA sample was taken at the time, no match was ever made.

More than a decade later, in March 1996, Caltrans workers discovered a body in the bushes along Highway 780 near Laurel Street in Vallejo. In that case, 46-year-old Oakland/Berkeley woman Winnifred Douglas was found to have died from asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Again, possible DNA was uploaded to the FBI's database – and a single DNA profile was isolated – but no match was made at the time.

In 2012, detectives say they were able to match the DNA profile from the Vallejo case to the Union City case. However, a suspect still could not be identified.

It appears the big break in the cases came in 2021 after the North Bay Police Department started investigating a sex crime in their jurisdiction. Detectives say the DNA profile in the North Bay case matched that of the Union City and Vallejo cold cases. This time, detectives were able to identify the suspect as 76-year-old Fairfield resident James Ray Gary.

Gary was arrested early this week at his home after a warrant was obtained. He has since been booked into Solano County Jail and is being held without bail.

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