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Bay Area mother arrested in her baby's 1988 killing thanks to DNA

Lesa Lopez, of Salida, has been arrested for the death of her boy, who was a baby at the time of his death on May 15, 1988 in Castro Valley.

SAN FRANCISCO — Authorities have arrested a California woman in the death of her newborn baby boy 32 years ago. 

They say the case was solved thanks to genetic genealogy. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office says 52-year-old Lesa Lopez, of Salida, admitted to investigators she was the mother of the baby and implicated herself in the crime. It wasn’t immediately known if she has an attorney who can speak on her behalf. 

Two children playing found the baby’s body on May 15, 1988 in Castro Valley, inside a paper bag left among trees and bushes on the bank of a creek in Castro Valley. Law enforcement later determined the baby was alive at birth and later killed.

The case was cold for 17 years, according to a press release from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, but things changed in 2005 when a DNA evidence from the scene was identified. 

Investigators reopened the case in 2019 as DNA technology improved. After a year of "extensive genealogy research, physical surveillance and through [sic] DNA analysis," authorities identified Lopez.

Authorities spoke to Lopez on July 23, 2020, who was 20 years old at the time of the incident and admitted to the crime. She said she hit the pregnancy from family and friends. 


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