OAKLAND -- The body of a missing Oakland murder victim, Cynthia "Linda" Alonzo, has been found nearly 18 years after she was slain, authorities said Wednesday.
The 48-year-old Alonzo went missing on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2004, in West Oakland. She was last seen with her boyfriend, Eric Mora, getting into a car to head to Alonzo's mother's house in San Francisco for a Thanksgiving gathering. She was never seen alive again.
After a lengthy investigation, Mora was charged with murder in February 2007, even though her body was not found. Oakland police said Alonzo's blood was recovered from the room where she stayed with him at his home at 6201 Brookside Ave. in the Oakland hills and he had multiple scratches on his hands after she disappeared.
Mora's case was delayed by a number of factors, including that he hired and fired many lawyers and wound up undergoing two preliminary hearings because a judge ruled that in his first hearing he hadn't clearly waived his right to have that hearing held in one continuous session instead of on intermittent days.
Mora was tried and convicted of second-degree murder in March 2012 and sentenced to 15 years to life.
In March 2016, Mora's conviction was overturned on appeal because the trial judge had wrongly barred him from trying to present evidence that someone else may have killed Alonzo.
In October of that year, Mora confessed to killing Alonzo and provided the general location of her body at 7th and Maritime streets on the grounds of the decommissioned Oakland Army Base. However, an extensive search by the FBI, Oakland police, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the district attorney's office failed to turn up Alonzo's body.
Mora was sentenced in June 2017 to 11 years in state prison.
On May 4, a work crew at 7th and Maritime found Alonzo's remains wrapped in tarps in a shallow grave, according to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley.
"After nearly 18 years of waiting, the family of Linda Alonzo may finally find some peace in knowing that their loved one can ultimately be laid to rest," said O'Malley in a press statement. "We cannot begin to imagine the pain and unrest that her family must have felt through all this time not knowing where Linda was. Our thoughts are with them."
After the body was found, Oakland police, the FBI and the DA's office were called to the scene, as well as one of Alonzo's children. The Alameda County Coroner's Office conducted an autopsy and on May 12, the coroner confirmed the body to be that of Alonzo.
"The District Attorney's Office fought hard for justice on behalf of Linda's family. It was a long road to get here, and the family stuck with us along the way," said Deputy District Attorney Danielle London in a statement. "We are relieved to have finally found Linda so the family can have a proper burial ... May Linda finally rest in peace."
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