1974 Cold Case Ends with Suspect’s Suicide

1974 Cold Case Ends with Suspect’s Suicide
Photo: SCSO holds press conference

SANTA CLARA COUNTY – The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office announced the end to a cold case that occurred more than 43 years ago.  The brutal attack of a 19-year-old teen back on October 13, 1974 resulted in here death.

Arlis Perry’s cold case went positively ahead after DNA testing of her clothing.  Despite the degradation of the clothing samples, the DNA test revealed a suspect. Investigators identified Stephen Crawford, now 72 years old, as the contributor of DNA on her clothing.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant with the San Jose Police Department’s assistance.

They served the search warrant on Crawford at 9:05 am on June 28. It was at a residence in the 5200 block of Camden Ave. in San Jose.

According to authorities, “As deputies made entry, they observed an adult male with a handgun… the deputies immediately backed away. ”  Deputies regrouped outside the apartment where Crawford was staying. Sheriff’s deputies soon heard a single gunshot in which Crawford ended his own life.

At the time of the murder, Perry did not know Crawford, who worked as a security guard at Stanford University.

In fact, Crawford reported to police that his “discovery” of the body. He said it happened after investigating a side door to a church that appeared to have been pried open.

Despite his suspicious behavior, little evidence collected at the scene revealed the identity of Perry’s killer. The only evidence found was a single smudged palm print on a candle set next to her body, along with semen found on her clothing.

SCCS Laurie Smith said,“It’s been frustrating through the years, we could never get enough evidence to charge the suspect.”

Reports by the Mercury News revealed that Crawford called the police stating, “we have a stiff here.”  It is believed that Crawford killed Perry that evening, but failed to report her body until the next morning.

The crime scene showed that Perry’s jeans set out in a ritualistic manner with candles around her. Perry suffered a brutal beating, suffering an ice pick stabbed into the back of her head.

Now, as a result, with Thursday’s shooting, this part of the case is closed.

1974 Cold Case Ends with Suspect’s Suicide was last modified: June 29th, 2018 by admin
Categories: Santa Clara

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Amy Nilson

Amy L. Nilson is a freelance journalist specializing in criminal and environmental matters. She has over 5+years experience writing investigative reports, featured journal articles, and has taken on writing fiction and non-fiction prose. She writes for CrimeVoice, Examiner.com, and other news publications. She may be reached at nilson.amyl@gmail.com for any comments or suggestions, you might have.