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News Release

Friday, September 11, 2009

Media Relations

Cold Case Detectives Make an Arrest on 33-Year-Old Homicide NR09446cj

Los Angeles:  On September 8, 2009, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD) detectives arrested 50-year-old Dennis Vasquez at his downtown Los Angeles area home for the 1975 murder of Ms. Alice Lewis.

Vasquez submitted to arrest without incident and was booked at the LAPD Metropolitan Jail for murder, Penal Code (PC) Section 187.  Investigating officers presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on September 10, 2009 for filing consideration.  The District Attorney’s Office filed one count of 602/187 PC Murder - with special circumstances for rape and robbery.  Following his arraignment on September 11, 2009, Vasquez was transferred to the Los Angeles County Central Jail where he is held without bail.

Because Vasquez was 17 when the murder occurred, the charge is preceded by the Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602.  However, it will be handled as a non-Capital case by the adult court.

Captain Kevin McClure said, “This cold case instantly became hot when Vasquez was arrested in April 2009 on an unrelated charge.”  He added, “In California all felony arrestees must provide a DNA sample through a simple buccal swab.  Vasquez sample was analyzed and his unique DNA profile was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).  While we don’t generally discuss the weight or value of evidence, we can say that this arrest is the direct result of the system working as designed.”

On December 18, 1975, almost 34 years ago, Alice Lewis was found dead inside her Venice home in the 3500 block of Meier Street.  Born in 1895, Alice Lewis was 80 years old when she was murdered.  In 1975, investigators determined that Alice Lewis had been murdered by suffocation and that the motive was apparently sexual in nature.  After an extensive investigation, the case went cold and remained that way until August 2009.  Detectives assigned to the RHD Cold Case Unit pored over the files and determined that Vasquez should be arrested for Lewis’ murder.

Anyone with information regarding this crime or Arrestee Vasquez is urged to call LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division, Cold Case Homicide Unit Detectives Greg Kading or Tim Marcia at 213-847-0970.  During off-hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on web tips.  When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.