Suspect in ritual 1974 California church murder apparently kills himself

Northern California authorities said Thursday that Steve Crawford (right), a suspect in the 1974 ritual church murder of the 19-year-old Arlis Perry (left) apparently killed himself after detectives with a search warrant, knocked on his door.

(Hand-Out / Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department)

The body of the 19-year-old Arlis Perry was playing in the Stanford University’s chapel with an icepick in the back of the head in 1974. She was also naked below the waist altar with candles in her body and in her body.

On Thursday, Northern California, authorities said that the suspect in her ritual church murder apparently killed himself after detectives with a search warrant, knocked on his door.

KABC reported that a 72-year-old man named Steve Crawford was listed as living at the address where the defendant has appeared to kill himself Wednesday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Crawford was the campus security guard who claimed to find Perry’s body in the chapel 44 years ago.



44-year-old cold case apparently solved in California

The police are investigating the 1974 murder of Arlis Perry believed that they were on a defendant, when he committed suicide.

Perry, on the evening of oct. 12, 1974, the house had, after a quarrel with her husband to pray and meditate in the church, often open until after midnight for students, The Chronicle.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said a recent DNA tests linked the man to the murder and sexual assault.

Detectives contacted the suspect in the past few weeks, ” she said.

“We have a cold case homicide unit, and they do this case, active since 1974,” Smith said, according to KABC. “There’s been a lot of the increases in the technology for the DNA, and we were able to get more information that led us to believe that this is the suspect. That is why we are able to the search warrant today.”

The Chronicle reported that the suspects in Perry’s death ranged from occultists to serial killer Ted Bundy, who shortly was seen after his arrest in 1975.

The San Jose Police Department, who have helped with the search Thursday, said detectives spoke to the suspect through a locked door. When they got the access to the apartment, officers said they saw a man with a gun, and retreated back outside.

A short time later, the police heard a shot and found the suspect’s body to a police spokesman Enrique Garcia said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a journalist and editor, covering sports, tech, military and geopolitical for He can be reached at

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