An alleged crime rape kit from 1994 led to an arrest in a slaying of a 43-year-old in California, authorities said Wednesday.
Investigators believe 63-year-old Harold Carpenter killed Patricia Carnahan in 1979, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office in California said.
Carpenter was identified after a rape kit from an alleged 1994 sexual assault in Spokane, Washington, was recently analyzed and found to have his DNA matched to evidence collected from Carnahan’s body, the district attorney’s office said.
His body was found at a Lake Tahoe campsite on September 28, 1979.
His identity was not known until 2015, when the case was re-examined, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Her body was exhumed and relatives recognized a pendant she was wearing that matched her DNA, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The Spokane rape kit was tested as part of a national effort to address the backlog of untested kits, the prosecutor’s office said. When the sexual assault occurred, it was deemed «non-provable,» the office said, and the victim has since died.
Spokane police said that in 1994, Carpenter was arrested and booked on a second-degree rape charge, but the case was dropped and the charges were never formally filed. The kit was sent out for testing last year, he said.
Carpenter was arrested Monday at his apartment in downtown Spokane, police said.
He is being held in Spokane County as a fugitive, according to online jail records. He faces a murder charge in California, according to the prosecutor’s office.
It was not immediately clear Wednesday night if Carpenter had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.