DNA and fingerprint technology has led to the arrest of a suspect in the death of a woman in Gardena 16 years ago, according to sheriff’s homicide detectives.

Charles Wright, 56, of Hawthorne was arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder in the strangling of 21-year-old Pertina Epps, said Deputy Alejandra Parra of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

A resident was backing out of a carport about 1 p.m. April 26, 2005 in the 2700 block of 141st Place and discovered Epps’ body in an empty parking stall, Parra said.

“At the time of the murder, an extensive investigation was conducted by LASD homicide detectives and all leads were exhausted,” she said.

“During a review of this case in 2021 by the Sheriff’s Homicide Unsolved Unit, forensic evidence left at the crime scene was resubmitted for examination, using current technology,” Parra said. “DNA and fingerprint evidence was determined to belong to the suspect, Charles Wright.”

Bail for Wright was set at $1 million, she said. He bailed out of jail the same day. Wright’s arraignment was scheduled for June 28, Parra said.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call detectives at 323-890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

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