DNA Match Assist LAPD Robbery Homicide Cold Case Detectives in Solving a 26-Year-Old Murder NR09549cj

November 20, 2009

Los Angeles: A DNA match and cooperation with the NYPD helps to solve a 1982 murder.

In May 2009, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Robbery Homicide Cold Case Detectives Rod Amador and Corey Farell were assigned the task of reviewing the original investigation of the 1982 murders of two elderly women in Los Angeles.  They discovered there was evidence recovered in the initial investigation which when tested in 2003 revealed a DNA profile.  The detectives searched the original case file and found that Victor Alvarez had been named as a suspect.   Alvarez had never been entered in CODIS.  In cooperation with New York Police Department (NYPD), a DNA sample was provided resulting in a match.

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count for Penal Code Section 187 murder against Alvarez for the killing of Hazel Hughes, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.  Alvarez was arrested as he was leaving a methadone clinic in New York City by LAPD detectives, assisted by the detectives of the NYPD Cold Case Unit on October 3, 2009.  Later that month, Alvarez waived his right to an extradition hearing and was brought back to Los Angeles by LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD) detectives on November 19, 2009.  Alvarez was transferred to the LA County jail where he is being held without bail.   

Los Angeles Police Department Captain Kevin McClure said, "This cold case became hot when the DNA sample recovered from the crime scene matched the sample taken from Alvarez in New York.  It was a joint effort between the LAPD and NYPD to solve this case, because neither sample was in the CODIS."  He added, "This is a direct result of a system working as designed due to the hard work of the LAPD Cold Case Unit with the assistance of the NYPD Cold Case Unit."   

On August 16, 1982, over 26 years ago, 65-year-old Cordelia Ferguson was found stabbed and beaten to death in her apartment, on the fourth floor, in the 3300 block of West 4th Street in Los Angeles, California.  In the same apartment building, on the first floor, 63-year-old Hazel Hughes was found killed in a similar fashion.  Early indications were that the two murders were connected and the LAPD Robbery Homicide detectives were assigned the case. A single fingerprint was found at Hughes’ apartment complex that matched Alvarez’s.  Alvarez was also named as a suspect in a prowler complaint prior to the murders.  Detectives discovered that Alvarez was living on the third floor of the apartment building at the time of the murders.  Although a comprehensive investigation was conducted at the time, no charges were filed against Alvarez.        

Anyone with information regarding this crime or Arrestee Alvarez is urged to call LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division, Cold Case Homicide Unit Detectives Rod Amador or Corey Farell 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.