“We appreciate that local law enforcement departments are revisiting unsolved cases and submitting evidence for testing and cross-checking databases. The criminalists at California DOJ are so valuable to these investigations. We thank them for their dedication to science and criminal justice.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
MONTEREY COUNTY – On July 31, 2023, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office and the Seaside Police Department announced that DNA testing has solved the 1991 murder of Vicki Johnson, 34, Seaside. The suspect identified in Johnson’s murder died in 2021.
In the early morning hours of January 3, 1991, Johnson’s body was found in a park on Darwin Street and H Place in Seaside. She had been strangled, asphyxiated, and her body had been set on fire. The physical evidence indicated that Johnson had struggled with her killer. No eyewitnesses to the crime could be located, and no significant suspects were developed.
The murder of Johnson, a mother of three, went unsolved for more than 32 years. In 2021, investigators with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Task Force worked with Seaside Police Department to reopen Johnson’s case and submit items of evidence from the case for DNA testing.
In July 2023, criminalists with the California Department of Justice Crime Laboratory matched DNA found beneath Johnson’s fingernails to a man named Frank Lewis McClure. McClure, age 46 at the time of Johnson’s murder, died in 2021 at the age of 77. McClure’s DNA profile was in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database as a result of a previous felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. McClure had not been a suspect in the original investigation. The motive for the crime is unknown.
According to a Monterey Herald article from January 5, 1991, Johnson was one of 10 children. She lived in Seaside for 31 years prior to her murder. She left behind three sons.