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Cold case murder of Seaside girl Anne Pham solved; 70-year-old Nevada man arrested

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SEASIDE -- A 70-year-old Nevada man has been charged with murder for the killing of a five-year-old girl in Seaside 40 years ago, according to the Monterey County District Attorney's Office.

Robert Lanoue, a Reno resident, is accused of killing Anne Pham, who disappeared while walking to her kindergarten class at Highland Elementary School on Jan. 21, 1982, and was found dead two days later at the former Ford Ord, prosecutors said Thursday.

Robert Lanoue Washoe County Sheriff's Office

The District Attorney's Office's cold case task force reopened the case in 2020 in collaboration with Seaside police and submitted evidence for a type of DNA testing that was not available to earlier investigators, and Lanoue, who was 29 and living in Seaside at the time of the killing, was identified as the suspect.

Anne Pham Seaside Police Department

"It's a very strong case. DNA has a large part, genealogy has a large part and circumstantial evidence, in this case, is extremely powerful," Seaside Interim Police Chief Nick Borges told KION 46. "The suspect lived about a block and a half away from Anne Pham."

Authorities obtained a warrant on Wednesday for Lanoue's arrest. He is being held in custody in Nevada pending extradition to California, where he will be charged with first-degree murder with special circumstance allegations that he killed her while committing kidnapping and a lewd act on a child under 14 years old, prosecutors said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call district attorney's investigator Justin Bell at (831) 755-5070. More information about the cold case task force can be found at

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