On July 27th, 2023

Fresno Police Make Arrest in 1987 Cold Case Murder Through DNA evidence, a suspect has been identified and arrested

“The partnership between local law enforcement departments, district attorneys’ offices and California Department of Justice forensic labs is so important in solving crimes today, and crimes that occurred years ago.  Technology and highly-specialized criminalists at California DOJ are key to identifying suspects and getting answers for families whose loved ones have gone missing or became victims of murder.” - CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

FRESNO – On July 26, 2023, the Fresno Police Department and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Carl Eugene Sears, 71, for the 1987 murder of Jacqueline Denise Henry, 22.   The arrest is the result of DNA evidence and forensic work at the California Department of Justice Fresno Regional Lab.

On February 24, 1987, the body of a deceased female, naked and stabbed, was found in an open field at the corner of Church and Fig Avenues. Homicide detectives identified the victim as 22-year-old Jacqueline Denise Henry, a young mother of an infant son. Henry had been reported missing by her family three days earlier.

Based on evidence at the scene, detectives determined that Henry had been murdered several days earlier in the parking lot of a church across the street, then dragged and left in the open field. Despite investigative efforts, no witnesses were ever located and a suspect was never identified.

In 2009, the case was reopened. After review, several items of evidence originally collected from the scene and autopsy that may have contained DNA evidence were submitted to the California Department of Justice Fresno Regional Laboratory for analysis.

In February of 2022, the Fresno Police Department received a notification from the CAL-DNA Data Bank, identifying 71-year-old Carl Eugene Sears as a possible suspect. Since that time, homicide detectives worked with the Fresno County DAs office, culminating in an arrest warrant for Sears. Sears, a registered sex offender on parole, was taken into custody on Friday, July 21, 2023, and booked into the Fresno County Jail for murder.



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