Sheriff’s investigators Thursday arrested an El Monte man allegedly linked by DNA testing to the rape and killing of a woman at an assisted living center for senior citizens in Covina more than two decades ago.
David Adolph Bernal, 46, was taken into custody in El Monte by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau in connection with the January 1996, slaying of Mary Lindgren.
The 67-year-old victim — who lived alone in a first-floor room — was found on the morning of Jan. 19, 1996, by staff at the Covina Villa Retirement Home. She had been beaten, raped and killed, authorities said.
Investigators conducted extensive interviews with the facility’s staff members, residents and their families, outside vendors, contractors, delivery personnel and neighbors living near the center — all of whom were excluded as potential suspects, according to the sheriff’s department.
Several items of evidence, including DNA, were also collected and held for forensic analysis.
The suspect’s DNA profile was developed, but it did not match any profiles within the state or federal criminal justice DNA databases, according to a sheriff’s statement.
Homicide investigators assigned to the sheriff’s Unsolved Unit subsequently collaborated with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in 2019 to submit the unidentified DNA profile to the California Department of Justice, which notified investigators of their results.
Homicide investigators, along with sheriff’s crime lab personnel, subsequently identified Bernal, whose “DNA was a match collected (with DNA) collected from the body of Mary Lindgren,” according to the sheriff’s department.
Bernal is set to appear in court Friday, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.