Former Topekan Arrested In Calif. Cold Case Murder

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

WHITTIER, Calif. (WIBW) -- A former Topeka man was arrested this week, in connection with a three-decade old rape and murder in California.

Whittier, California Police say the Topeka Police Department helped them locate Joseph Thornton, 51, who they say lived in Topeka for several years.

Thornton was charged Friday (4/20) in a June 1981 rape and homicide. The Los Angeles County Coroner's office saying the victim, Blanca Stella Negrete, died of strangulation when she was 21.

Whittier Police say at the time of the killing, they exhausted all leads, and were unable to identify a suspect.

They re-opened the cold case in May 2010, discovering new DNA evidence that was matched to Thornton.

Thornton is being held without bail at the Los Angeles County Jail.

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