SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — A gruesome 1996 murder in Sonoma County has finally been solved, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office announced Wednesday, due to DNA evidence.

Until now, the murder of Michelle Marie Veal (Hinojos) of Union City had been unsolved since her nude body was discovered roadside by a survey crew in unincorporated Sonoma County on July 15, 1996.

The crew discovered the body around Stony Point Road, north of West Railroad Avenue. An autopsy showed Veal had suffered skull fractures, and that her neck had been broken probably due to blunt force trauma. 

Though detectives investigated and evidence was collected from the scene, the case went cold until April 2021, when detectives submitted the evidence to the Serological Research Institute (SERI) for biological testing utilizing today’s methods.

The SERI laboratory developed a DNA profile based on the evidence. Then, there was a hit in the Combined Index System in the United States, or CODIS, DNA database, which was created and is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The DNA profile matched Jack Alexander Bokin Jr.

Bokin was arrested in 1997 in San Francisco on multiple charges of kidnapping, rape, false imprisonment and attempted murder, as well as for two counts of oral copulation of a person under 14 years of age.

According to Crime magazine, Bokin was a San Francisco native who victimized prostitutes in the city. He was sentenced to 231 years in a San Francisco court in 2000.

After learning of the CODIS hit on January 18, detectives learned that they missed Bokin by just a few weeks: he died December 4, 2021 at the California Department of Corrections Medical Facility in Vacaville.

“Cold cases are just as crucial to our detectives as are current cases,” a news release states. “Family and friends of all victims awaiting justice for crimes committed in our county, you will not be forgotten by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.”