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Suspect is arrested for the murder of 11-year-old girl was kidnapped and left in a ditch 45 years ago

Linda O’keefe

It was 45 years since the day of his 11-year-old Linda O’keefe left the school on the way home and never made it.

She was found, strangled, her body thrown in a ditch the next day.

Now, the police in Newport Beach, California have announced what they have long been waiting for: the arrest of Linda, the alleged murderer. The police have not yet officially determined that the accused killer, but they are going to do during a press conference Wednesday.

Witnesses at the time reported seeing the little girl talking with a man who seemed to be in his 20’s or 30’s and was in a turquoise and, last year, the Newport Beach police department scored a lead in the case that had frustrated them for so long. They used DNA evidence that the killer left on Linda’s dress to find out what he might look like decades later. That evidence is allowed officials to zoom in on the suspects.

Sketch of the suspect that Newport Beach, California, police released last year.

Governments put together a sketch of the suspect, but also decided to O’keefe “back to life”, a face and a voice to what otherwise could be if a spirit of many people.

The officials turned to social media, and tweeted as Linda: “Now, 45 years later, I have a voice again. And I have something important to say. There is a new lead in my case: a face. A face that comes from the DNA that the killer behind. It is a technology that did not exist in 1973, but it would change everything today.” Newport Beach police also recreated Linda’s kidnapping and murder on the social media.

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“The tweets to extend the period of time that Linda’s story can be for people to keep” Newport Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said last year. “We want as many sets of eyes on that sketch as possible, so that someone can recognize the face of a murderer, so we can for justice.”

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzers office extended thanks on Wednesday to the Newport Beach Police Department, Orange County Crime Lab, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Colorado Springs Police and El Paso County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance in the investigation.

“If the Orange County District Attorney, I am dedicated to protecting the community,” the statement said. “My office will never forget about cold cases. Our hearts go out to the victim and the family of the victim in this case, to endure decades without answers. We will ensure that the defendant is fairly and justly be held accountable in court.”

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