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Phoenix PD detectives arrest murder suspect in 20-year-old cold case

INDEPENDENT NEWS MEDIA

Twenty years after a 15-year-old girl was found murdered in a Phoenix home and DNA testing led to an arrest in her killing, police said.

Sergio Reyes, 37, was extradited from Mexico on Wednesday and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on multiple felony charges, including sexual assault and first-degree murder, in connection with the death of Elena Lasswell.

Lasswell was found just after 8 p.m. on July 10, 2004, when Phoenix police officers responded to a home in the 2700 block of North 21st Drive. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to a news release from Phoenix police, officers interviewed several witnesses and detectives took over the investigation, developing leads without direct information about who killed Lasswell.

The Silent Witness organization was contacted, but detectives ran out of leads and the case reached a dead end.

In 2012, detectives used DNA collection techniques and were able to identify a profile that matched Reyes, police said. In March 2013, DNA evidence was processed and Reyes was confirmed as the primary suspect.

In 2014, a Maricopa County grand jury indicted Reyes, who lives in Mexico, leading to extradition proceedings.

Authorities, with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service, located Reyes in custody.

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