Suspect arrested in 1997 Boulder rape and murder
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) ” Police on Sunday announced the arrest of a suspect in the rape and beating death in December 1997 of University of Colorado senior Susannah Chase, based on DNA evidence.
“The department is ecstatic over this,” Police Chief Mark Beckner said.
Lead Detective Chuck Heidel, who had worked the case from the start, broke the news to Chase’s mother Friday. “She is extremely happy, she and her family,” Heidel said.
Diego Olmos-Alcalde, 38, was being held on $5 million bail on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and first-degree sex assault.
Police learned Thursday that DNA from the case matched a profile entered by authorities in Wyoming, where Alcalde had served time for a kidnapping in 2000, Beckner said. Alcalde, of Chile, was released to immigration officials last July. His current status was unknown, Beckner said.
An arrest warrant was issued after he failed to report to a Wyoming parole officer, Beckner said.
Boulder and Aurora police, working on information that he had family in the Denver area, arrested him Saturday on the parole violation, Beckner said. Alcalde was served on Sunday with charges in Chase’s death.
“As you might imagine our emotions have run the gamut since we first heard of the DNA match with Susannah’s case,” parents Hal and Julie Chase said in a written statement. “We are delighted that a suspect has been identified and apprehended.”
Susannah Chase, a slender woman with long blond hair, was walking home alone early Dec. 21 after an argument with her boyfriend when someone beat her with a baseball bat and left her for dead in an alley a block from her home, police said.
Police have said they believe the attack was random and the motive was sexual assault.
Police had never given up on the case, talking with more than 100 people possibly involved in the death of the 23-year-old from Stamford, Conn.
In recent years, as forensic science was enhanced, detectives focused on the DNA found in seminal fluid in Chase’s body.
Melinda Brazzale of the Wyoming Department of Corrections said she did not know when Alcalde’s DNA was taken. He had been sentenced on charges involving kidnapping and terrorizing someone but releasing them without harm and was allowed to serve at least part of the sentence in Colorado under an interstate compact, she said. Brazzale said other details might be available Monday.
Alcalde had never previously come up as a possible suspect before the DNA match, Beckner said. He said the DNA was a key piece of evidence leading to the arrest but that investigators used other information, which he declined to disclose.
Beckner said more investigation remained to clear up questions about the suspect and his whereabouts before the attack.
Jail officials did not make Olmos-Alcalde available for comment by telephone. Jail records did not indicate whether he had an attorney, and a police spokeswoman did not know whether he had an attorney.
Police planned to file their arrest warrant affidavit Monday.
Boulder police had been widely criticized for failing to solve three murders in the usually peaceful city in the past 25 years, including the murder of child beauty pageant contestant JonBenet Ramsey.
Heidel said Chase’s parents have been supportive throughout.
“Because the investigation went down a lot of blind alleys, leading to a lot of dead ends, they went down those with us,” said Heidel.
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