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New suspect arrested in 1987 cold case murder of 6-year-old Vallejo boy

Additional suspect arrested in connection with 1987 cold case murder of 6-year-old Vallejo boy
Additional suspect arrested in connection with 1987 cold case murder of 6-year-old Vallejo boy 03:19

VALLEJO – Detectives have arrested a new suspect in a decades-old Solano County cold case murder of a six-year-old boy.

Jeremy Stoner was abducted from near his Vallejo home in 1987. His body was found four days later on Sherman Island in Sacramento County.

Originally, police arrested a suspect named Shawn Melton and charged him with kidnapping and murder. However, a jury couldn't reach a verdict in two trials. 

Melton has since been exonerated by new DNA technology, the Solano County District Attorney's Office says.

That same technology also identified a new suspect in the case: Fred Cain III.

Detectives say Cain was living in Central Point, Ore.; he was arrested on Sept. 18 and will be transferred to Solano County soon on charges of murder with a special circumstance of kidnapping and sodomy.

"I am so thankful to have such dedicated cold case investigators that no matter how much time goes by they remain steadfast in their commitment to solving these horrific cases," said District Attorney Krishna Abrams in a statement on Cain's arrest.

Advanced DNA technology helping crack cold cases

Advancements in forensic and genealogical DNA technology are changing the game for cracking cases cold cases. 

"It's probably the most exciting time in the world of crime solving, crime prevention, exonerations that we have ever seen in our lifetime," said Anne Marie Schubert, former District Attorney for Sacramento County. 

Schubert is an expert in forensic DNA and in 2018 led her office's investigation and prosecution of Joseph DeAngelo, the "Golden State Killer," who was responsible for 13 murders, 51 rapes, and 120 burglaries across California. He was identified and caught decades later using forensic investigative genetic genealogy. 

"We are at a point now with forensic DNA that we have the ability to potentially solve 90% of violent crime with DNA," said Schubert. 

CBS13 asked investigators Friday if another cold case could be linked to Fred Cain. 

Less than a month before Jeremy's case, 9-year-old Eric Coy was murdered near his home about half an hour away from Vallejo in Martinez, Calif. 

His killer has never been found.

Could there be another DNA connection to Fred Cain?

"When you have a murder case, particularly a sexually motivated murder case, when that victim has an autopsy there is going to be an autopsy kit. That has been the standard for decades and decades. Pathologists collect evidence at the autopsy and it could be anything from the sexual assault examination, which could be swabs from the body, it could be fingernail scrapings, it could be clothing," said Schubert. 

It's come down to what was collected at the time and what can still be tested. 

Martinez Police told CBS13 Friday, "We been in contact with Solano County District Attorney's Office. We are not releasing any more information at this time. The Eric Coy case is an active investigation."

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