SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Newport Beach Police Department announced the arrest and filing of charges against a suspect in connection with a 1973 Newport Beach cold case murder at a joint press conference! today. Newport Beach Police Chief Jon T. Lewis and Council Member Brad Avery spoke at the press conference with the OCDA Todd Spitzer.
James Alan Neal was identified as the suspect in the abduction and murder of Linda Ann O’Keefe after a tireless and exhaustive investigation by the Newport Beach Police Department that lasted for more than 45 years. Investigators broke the case through genetic genealogy techniques. The arrestee’s DNA profile was originally entered into the CODIS system in 2001, but there was no hit. Detectives from NBPD continued to investigate the case through constant innovation and crime solving techniques.
District Attorney Todd Spitzer said, “The significant arrest for the brutal sexual assault and murder of Linda O’Keefe is an affirmation to never give up on solving cold cases. The community resolve for justice, cooperation of local law enforcement, and the strategic use of investigative tools like DNA are what helped find answers for this family and community. Our office will work tirelessly to ensure justice is served in a court of law.”
Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis said, “For 45 years, the Newport Beach Police Department continued to search for Linda’s Killer. Generations of investigators worked on her case. We never gave up.”
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office would like to thank our law enforcement partners, the Newport Beach Police Department, Orange County Crime Lab, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Colorado Springs Police Department, and El Paso County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance and commitment to this investigation.
Linda Ann O’Keefe was abducted while walking home f! rom school in Newport Beach, California on July 6, 1973. Her body was discovered in the Back Bay the following morning.