A Man From Florida Was Caught Nearly 40 Years After a Cold Case Murder in California

A Florida man wanted for murder in connection with the death of a 33-year-old woman in 1984 was apprehended by authorities in California. Donald Michael Santini, 33, was arrested in San Diego, California on June 7 for the strangulation death of 33-year-old Cynthia Ruth Wood in Hillsborough County, Florida in 1984.

Wood’s body was discovered in a drainage ditch. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the arrest warrant states that a medical examiner ruled she had been strangled and that Santini’s fingerprints were found on her body.

Santini was the last person observed leaving the 33-year-old’s home in 1984, according to the authorities. Ruth’s body was found by authorities on June 9, 1984.

The sheriff’s office lists Santini as a suspect in a “Unsolved Homicides” page, noting that the case dates back 39 years, and that “The suspect has not been seen since this incident and may be in the state of Texas using an unknown identity,” 

Santini was a wanted criminal who had been hiding out in California under an alias. Local news station WFLA obtained Santini’s arrest warrant, which states that during his 39 years of concealment he used the aliases Charles Michael Stevens, Donald Chapman, and John Trimble.

Santini’s fingerprints were allegedly found on Wood’s body, as stated in the warrant acquired by WFTS of Tampa. With the “technology of today,” detectives were able to reopen the cold case, according to a statement released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

“This arrest allows us to reexamine evidence collected in 1984 using the technology of today, as the case is now considered open once again.” Extradition to Florida is pending, and on June 9 Santini appeared in court in San Diego County.

If you want to read more about these well-known persons, you should visit the California Examiner again.

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