Torrance cold-case murder solved after 47 years
Torrance cold-case murder solved after 47 years
Torrance police announced that they had solved the 1972 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. Detectives used the same genealogical DNA technique used to identify the Golden State Killer. Previously, they had tested DNA samples in 2000 and 2015 with no luck.

The murder took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1972. The victim was kidnapped while she was riding her bike in front of her home. Two fishermen found her nearly nude body the next day on an isolated beach in Oxnard.

Detectives used DNA evidence collected from the victim’s body when it was discovered. They submitted the sample to a genealogical database and located a relative of the suspected murderer. They later identified the suspect as Jake Edward Brown, also known as Thomas Tracy Burum. The suspect, who died in 2003, had subsequent arrests for drug crimes, robbery and two sexual assaults.

Using the evidence recovered from the victim, an Arizona court authorized the exhumation of the suspect’s body. The first two attempts to extract useable DNA failed. However, a Florida-based DNA testing company was able to extract useable DNA from a bone and positively identified the man as the murderer in the Torrance case.

Torrance murder attorney


Murder is the most serious charge you can face under California law. Certain circumstances can make you eligible for the death penalty. California has not executed an inmate in more than a decade, and the current governor has issued an execution moratorium. That does not mean you cannot receive the death penalty. In fact, today, nearly 750 inmates are sitting on California’s death row. When you face charges for homicide, hire an experienced murder attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience, exclusively in criminal defense. He takes homicide cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

Investigative technology continues to evolve, and fewer cases are likely to remain unsolved over long periods of time. Don’t assume, however, that you cannot refute DNA evidence against you. An experienced lawyer and expert testimony can help judges and juries understand what the scientific evidence really means. It can also help judges and juries separate real science from the “junk science” that has invaded courtrooms in recent years.

Don’t risk your freedom by working with an inexperienced attorney, or one who won’t challenge the evidence against you. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County murder case.

Photo Credit: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, via Flickr

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