New DNA Evidence in Old Homicide Case Points to the 'Night Stalker'

Ramirez.jpg
Anna McCarthy
Did you hang around the 'Loin in 1984? Does this face ring a bell?
On April 10, 1984, San Francisco police found 9-year-old Mei Leung's dead body in the basement area of the residential hotel at 765 O'Farrell Street where she lived with her family. Her 8-year-old brother was the last one to see her alive -- they had walked home from a friend's house together just before the slaying.

Police never found her killer. Now, two-and-a-half decades later, the SFPD say they have new DNA evidence proving that notorious serial killer Richard Ramirez, better known as the "Night Stalker" for his characteristic method of sneaking into his victims' houses after dark, may be responsible for her death. The SFPD declined to go into much detail because the case, they said, is still under investigation.

Los Angeles area police caught Ramirez in 1985, and, in 1989, he was convicted of 13 murders and sentenced to death. He is now on death row at San Quentin. At a press conference today, police announced that yesterday inspectors paid Ramirez a visit to obtain current DNA samples from him to confirm his connection with Leung's murder. Matt Gabriel of the department's Crime Scene Investigations unit said that the DNA lab has been working on the case for the past five years. "We have probably 100 unsolved homicide cases that we have tested over the years," said Gabriel. "... we're constantly working on these cases."

In the next couple of weeks, he said, they should have the results of the test. There have been no charges filed  against Ramirez for this assault yet, say inspectors. There's one critical piece of evidence they're looking at right now (they wouldn't say what it was, naturally). If inspectors do decide to charge Ramirez, it will be the second San Francisco murder case brought against him. He also allegedly killed a man by the name of Peter Pan in his home near Lake Merced. Although charged with the attack, Ramirez was never tried for it. 

David Shinn, deputy chief of investigations, said that Leung's family, which still lives in San Francisco, has been contacted and that they were "very grateful" for the news that the police have a suspect for their daughter's murder. Shinn also said that the SFPD is looking for any information regarding Ramirez' whereabouts in 1984, at the time of the slaying.

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