Cold Case Killer Arrested after DNA Hit Made

September 8, 2003

Press Conference
Monday, September 8, 2003
4:30 p.m.
Parker Center
150 North Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles
Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell, Chief of Operations Robbery-Homicide Division Cold-Case Detectives

Los Angeles: On September 5, 2003, Robbery- Homicide Division’s Cold Case Unit arrested 77 year-old Adolph Theodore Laudenberg for the 1972 murder of Lois Petrie.
The victim 43 year-old Lois Petrie, who lived at 346 West Tenth Street in the city of San Pedro, was found on December 26, 1972, in her bedroom partially nude and sexually assaulted. Petrie was last seen alive at midnight December 25, 1972, when she left a local bar in San Pedro. The autopsy revealed that Petrie died as a result of strangulation.
On August 19, 1974, the nude body of another female was discovered behind some bushes in Harbor Lake Recreational Park located at, 25820 South Vermont Avenue in the city of San Pedro. The female was identified as 50 year-old Catherine Medina. Medina was last seen alive on August 18, 1974, when her husband found her drinking in a local bar. The two got into an argument and the husband forced Medina to leave the bar. As they were walking home, she ran away and entered a van driven by an unidentified male. Medina was not seen again until her body was found.
On September 4, 1974, at 7:30 a.m., a construction worker found the nude body of 54 year-old Anna Felch, in the 1200 block of Westmont Drive in the city of San Pedro. The investigation revealed that Felch had died as a result of manual strangulation and was the victim of a sexual assault. Felch was last seen alive at 1:30 a.m., on September 4, 1974, when she left a local bar in San Pedro.
On July 15, 1975, Detectives interviewed Adolph Laudenberg and he denied responsibility for any of the womens’ deaths. The detectives concentrated their investigation on Laudenberg; however, they could not uncover any additional witnesses or physical evidence that could connect him to the murders.
In March of 2002, an additional witness came forward and provided police with details of a conversation that she had with Laudenberg. As with a witness from 1975, Laudenberg again implicated himself in several murders. Based on this information, the investigations into the deaths of Petrie, Median, and Felch were resurrected. Now, however, detectives had an advantage; they had DNA technology in their arsenal of investigative tools.
DNA analyst from the LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division evaluated slides that were recovered during the autopsies of the deceased women. Several samples were sent to the laboratory for processing and a DNA profile was obtained from the evidence collected from Lois Petrie. In the meantime, detectives from the LAPD’s Career Criminal Apprehension Unit placed Adolph Laudenberg under surveillance and recovered physical evidence. The evidence was processed and the DNA profile that was obtained matched the one recovered from victim Lois Petrie. Additional physical evidence from the other cases is still in the process of being analyzed.
Adolph Laudenberg was arrested for Penal Code Section 187 (a), Murder. Bail was set at $1,000,000.00. At the time of his arrest, Laudenberg was living in a camper that was parked in the 1000 block of west 251st Street in the city of Los Angeles.
Although criminal charges were not filed in the cases of Catherine Medina and Anna Felch, Robbery Homicide Detectives are continuing to focus on Adolph Laudenberg as the primary suspect.
Photographs of the suspect and victims will be available for the media during the press conference.
Anyone with information regarding these murders should call Robbery Homicide Division, Cold Case Unit Detectives at 818-847-0970. On weekends and during off-hours, contact the 24-hour toll free number at the Detective Information Desk at 1-877-LAWFULL, 1-877-529-3855.
This media advisory was prepared by Public Information Officer Renee’ Montoya, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.