UNION CITY, Calif. (KRON) — A suspected rapist who preyed on women around the Bay Area was arrested this week in connection to two cold case homicides, according to the Union City Police Department.
Police said James Ray Gary had eluded law enforcement for 42 years. The 76-year-old Fairfield man was booked into the Solano County Jail Tuesday with no bail.
A DNA match helped investigators connect Gary to the death of Latrelle Lindsay, 46, of Union City, according to police. Lindsay was raped and strangled inside her home in the summer of 1980.
“At the time, no suspects were identified in this killing. A DNA sample was later sent for entry and search in a law enforcement database, but no match was made,” UCPD wrote.
Another slain woman’s body was found in 1996 hidden within bushes along Highway 780 in Vallejo. Investigators identified the homicide victim as Winifred Douglas, 46, of Berkeley. An autopsy determined that Douglas was strangled and beaten to death.
DNA collected from the Vallejo crime scene was sent to the California Department of Justice for DNA analysis. A single DNA profile was found, but when loaded into the FBI’s DNA database, no match was made.
In 2012, investigators discovered that DNA from the Solano County homicide matched DNA collected from the Union City homicide. “There was still no suspect identified, though,” UCPD wrote.
Finally, investigators had a break in the two cold cases when a North Bay law enforcement agency discovered that DNA gathered from a 2021 sexual assault matched DNA from the two cold cases. Detectives identified Gary as the prime suspect.
“On July 18, 2022, our office was notified that the submitted DNA sample from James Ray Gary matched all three crimes. A warrant was obtained for his arrest and to search his home,” UCPD wrote.
Gary was arrested in Fairfield Tuesday afternoon on homicide charges.
“We are hopeful that this arrest can help bring some closure to the families and friends that have been seeking justice for as much as 40 years,” the Union City Police Department wrote Thursday.