DNA Closes 1980 Rape-Murder of 79-Year-Old Grandma.

Wess Haubrich

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Viola HagenkordKTLA

41 years of nothing. 41 years immovable. 41 years of going nowhere. 41 years of dancing in the dark. 41 years of brick walls.

41 years and the hopelessness has finally dissipated for family members of Viola Hagenkord who was 79 when she was murdered and sexually assaulted in her Anaheim apartment. Neighbors discovered her body after they hadn’t seen her for a few days.

“Our grandmother, Viola Clara, was a beautiful, happy soul and did not deserve being violated in her final years of life,” her family said in a statement.

41 years and finally some manner of resolution.

In 2020, investigators from the county and the FBI tried plugging DNA from the scene in familial databases. This tactic was most famously and effectively employed to catch the Golden State Killer Joseph James Deangelo in 2018.

The technique has since been used to apprehend a huge and ever-growing list of offenders. In this case, it pointed to now 64-year-old Andre William Lepere of Alamogordo, New Mexico. New Mexico State Police took Lepere into custody without incident.

Because of the sexual assault, Lepere would be eligible for the death penalty in California if the Orange County Prosecutor decides to go that routeafter Lepere is extradited there.

Journalist and dogged student of all things forensic, Wess Haubrich, examines the nitty, gritty details you didn't know about famous (and not so famous but equally weird) crimes and their unseen motivations. Thanks for reading!

You can also support the Real Monsters’ podcast Wess does to get even deeper into these cases. Find it wherever you get your podcasts or here:

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Former editor, now dogged-maverick journalist and researcher covering the crime beat. I examine the weird, absurd, and downright infamous in American crime both here and at Real Monsters podcast. Contact: wess@realmonsters.live

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