Testing showed that a now-dead local man murdered a woman more than 30 years ago, according to cops in the coastal city of Seaside, California. The victim, Vicki Johnson, 34, managed to put up a fight, getting Frank Lewis McClure’s DNA under her fingernails, officers said.
It is an answer, if not justice. McClure died at the age of 77 in 2021, cops said.
Johnson was found dead at a horrific scene in the playground area of Sabado Park on Jan. 3, 1991, officers said. Seaside is located just east of Monterey, around 115 miles south of San Francisco.
“Ms. Johnson suffered a violent death. Ms. Johnson had been strangled, suffocated and set on fire,” cops wrote. “Ms. Johnsons’ death shocked the Seaside community due to the details of the brutality. ”
“In those days there was a lot of gang violence but this one shocked everyone,” Seaside Police Chief Nick Borges told Fox News. “She wasn’t associated with gangs… and to be killed the way that she was.”
Investigators with the Cold Case Task Force, led by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, reopened the case. They submitted more evidence to the California Department of Justice for DNA testing.
It took two years for testing because of backlogs and lack of staffing, Borges said.
“It’s really sad,” he said. “It ties into my frustration with cold cases in general.”
They eventually got answers, identifying McClure as the suspect.
“He has been to prison for assaults with deadly weapons and domestic violence against women but nothing that rose to the level that would alarm or alert us that this guy would be engaged with murder,” Borges said. “He was pretty well known in the community, not so much as a great person, but his family was well known and everyone was fairly surprised.”
What remains a mystery is how Johnson and McClure knew each other — or if they even knew each other at all. Officers also do not know the motive.
“Evidence clearly demonstrates Ms. Johnson put up an incredible physical battle against McClure and fought until the last moments of her life,” police wrote. “McClure left significant DNA underneath Ms. Johnsons’ fingernails, which could only be a result of Ms. Johnson fighting vigorously for her life.”
If you have any information about a Seaside cold case homicide, please contact the Seaside Police Department:
Seaside Police Department – (831) 899-6748
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