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DNA breakthrough leads to arrest in brutal 2013 murder, Yuba City police say

How DNA evidence works

With the exception of identical twins, each person has a unique DNA profile. This makes DNA matching a powerful tool for finding and convicting the perpetrator of a crime.
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With the exception of identical twins, each person has a unique DNA profile. This makes DNA matching a powerful tool for finding and convicting the perpetrator of a crime.

Yuba City police say they have arrested a suspect in a 2013 homicide, and that a breakthrough in DNA analysis helped investigators identify a suspect in the cold case.

Armando Aryas Cuadras, a 29-year-old Yuba City resident was arrested and booked into Sutter County jail Wednesday, the Yuba City Police Department said in a news release.

New DNA testing in the cold case has connected Cuadras to the death of Leola Lucille Shreves, 94, who was “brutally murdered” inside her Park Avenue home on January 23, 2013.

Evidence obtained from the crime scene contained blood not belonging to Shreves, police said. But testing by the state Department of Justice did not connect that blood to Cuadras until six years later, the Yuba City Police Department said Wednesday.

“With recent advances in DNA analysis, this evidence was re-submitted at the request of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services and a suspect was identified,” the news release said. “This is believed to be the first time this new process of DNA analysis has been used to identify a suspect and lead to an arrest.”

Further details were not given regarding the new process or technology involved.

A different man — Shreves’ next-door neighbor — was imprisoned for nearly 3½ years based on an alleged confession before murder charges were dropped.

Two months after Shreves’ death, police arrested Michael Patrick Alexander, 20, of Yuba City.

Alexander was held in Sutter County jail until August 2016, when charges were dropped due to lack of evidence, as reported by the Marysville Appeal Democrat on Wednesday.

Police said Alexander told detectives that he had “two sides” and that “Angry Mike” committed the crime, according to reports by the Appeal Democrat. Evidence from the scene did not match Alexander’s DNA, and he was released.

Alexander sued Yuba City and Sutter County seeking $10 million, court records show. Alexander received a $50,000 settlement, the Appeal Democrat reported.

Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.


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