DNA Match Solves 1997 Murder

DNA Match Solves 1997 Murder

Santa Barbara – Donald Trump just might have a point, as evidenced by the recent arrest on murder charges of Manuel Salmeron Manzanares, a 36-year old undocumented Mexican national currently in Federal custody at the United States Penitentiary at Lompoc facing deportation.

With 26 unsolved murders in the files of the Santa Barbara Police Department, when an 18-year old homicide is solved through the tireless efforts of individual police officers, law enforcement officials justifiably take no little pride in bringing that news to the public. At 6:00 a.m. on July 9th, Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood announced to the media that the 1997 murder of Louise Archer, a 43-year-old woman who was homeless at the time of her death, has finally been solved.

Louise Archer

Louise Archer

The June 12th arrest of Manuel Salmeron Manzanares pursuant to a $1,000,000 warrant for the Archer murder came after two other individuals had been arrested for the crime many years prior. The day after Archer’s August 16, 1997 fatal beating at her freeway underpass campsite, Gregory Gavin was found to be in possession of Archer’s property and was arrested and charged with her homicide. Many months of investigation later, however, Gavin, a mentally ill transient, was determined to have no involvement in Archer’s violent death.

Then, in 2000, John Dalton, who was at the time an inmate at Corcoran State Prison, made a false confession to a cellmate that he had been responsible for Archer’s murder and subsequently lied to investigators regarding a personal relationship with Archer and his proximity to the crime scene at the time of her demise. While charged with the murder, Dalton was ultimately dismissed as a suspect pursuant to DNA analysis revealing that he was not at the scene of the crime nor in any way involved.

Archer Murder scene

Archer Murder scene

Having pursued those two credible yet fundamentally false leads, the Archer murder went unsolved for the next 15 years, and fell under the purview of the SBPD Major Investigation Team’s Sgt. Bryan Jensen. According to today’s announcement to the media by Harwood, in December of 2012 Jensen “resubmitted DNA evidence in this case to the California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services” for review, and two months later a profile match pointing to Manzanares was produced. It then didn’t take long for authorities to locate Manzanares, who has been sitting in Lompoc Federal Prison on charges of reentering the U.S. after being previously deported “as a convicted felon.”

Having been twice misled by false confessions and incomplete evidence, SBPD detectives left no stone unturned and conducted a complete reexamination of the entire body of evidence, “located and interviewed his family members”, interviewed Manzanares himself on multiple occasions, and on June 12, 2015 had him transferred to Santa Barbara County Jail where he was booked on $1,000,000 bail.

Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking

DNA Match Solves 1997 Murder was last modified: July 13th, 2015 by admin
Categories: Santa Barbara

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