Los Angeles police on Tuesday said they used spit collected from a sidewalk to tie a man to the sexual assault and murder of two women who disappeared in 2011.
The researchers used a controversial DNA-testing of the technique known as familial DNA testing to link the defendant, Geovanni Borjas, 32, of the murders of Michelle Lozano, 17, and Bree’anna Guzman, 22, Charlie Beck , the Los Angeles Police chief, said.
Familial DNA testing allowed researchers to compare forensic evidence from the victims to law enforcement databases to identify likely relatives of the person who committed the crime. The search resulted in a match to Borjas’ father, whose DNA was on file from a previous arrest, Beck said.
Detectives began to follow Borjas and collected his DNA after he spit on a sidewalk, Beck said. The sample matches the DNA collected from the crime scenes and Borjas, was Thursday arrested.
Borjas was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping. Researchers are still trying to determine whether Borjas knew the two victims, but he still has not cooperated with detectives, Beck said.
Lozano was found dead in April 2011 after she disappeared from the Lincoln Heights. Her body was found wrapped in plastic bags and stuffed in a container that was dumped in the brush along Interstate 5, police said. An autopsy found she was strangled.
Guzman is missing, a day after Christmas in 2011 of the Boyle Heights. She had told her family she was going to buy cough drops, but never returned. She was found along a slope that leads to State Route 2.
“He is in jail and he is never going to leave,” Guzman’s father, Richard Duran, said in Spanish. “That gives me a lot of happiness. I have closure now.”
The DNA technique has only been a few times in Los Angeles. In particular, it was used for the arrest of the Grim Sleeper, Lonnie Franklin Jr. in his serial killings that spanned from 1985 to 2007. The officials this year to resolve the decades-old killing of the ex-wife of the Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.