“He Killed All of Us”: Riverside County Cold Case Identified Through DNA After 27 Years

Carmela Karcher

“He destroyed my family,” the victim’s daughter tearfully said. “He didn’t kill only one person. He killed all of us.”

Questions finally answered 27 years in the making.

“On January 27, 1996, an unidentifiable female homicide victim was discovered on the side of Highway 60,” Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said. “The exact location was somewhere east of Gilman Springs Road between Moreno Valley and Beaumont, California.”

The area is known as the Badlands for its rugged, barren terrain and lack of frontage roads.

The few clues they had of who this Jane Doe was were some pieces of jewelry, including a gold religious pendant.

But now, she has a name.

“The Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team was able to identify the homicide victim, as Miss Juana Rosas-Zagal from the Los Angeles area,” Hestrin continued. “She would have been 41 years old at the time of her death 27 years ago.”

So, what was the missing link they’ve been waiting to find for decades?

The answer came from multiple DNA screening technologies, including Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy that tracks down familial ties.

This led investigators to her four daughters who nearly lost hope of ever knowing what happened to their mother.

“All of this is so difficult, but at the same time, I really want to know who killed my mother,” Juana’s second daughter shared. “I really, really wish he can be in prison for killing my mother.”

The case remains unsolved but as they continue to look for new information, they hope this major step will bring about new leads.

Investigators didn’t disclose how she died but did say robbery did not appear to be a motive.

They do believe there are still friends, neighbors or colleagues of Juana that may be able to provide more answers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the investigative team at (951) 955-0740 or (951) 955-2777.

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