LOS ANGELES — Cops were able to zero in on the ruthless killer responsible for the cold case rape and murder of two women by linking the suspect’s saliva after he spat on the street to DNA collected at the murder scenes back in 2011.
The DNA testing connected Geovanni Borjas, 32, to the killings of 17-year-old Michelle Lozano and 22-year-old Bree’Anna Guzman, whose bodies were found dumped under freeway overpasses, Los Angeles police said.
“DNA collection at time of arrest allowed us to connect this monster to the deaths of these two young women,” Police Chief Charlie Beck said.
Lozano disappeared on Easter in 2011, after she left her house to take a walk. Her body was found a day later under a freeway, police. Investigators determined she had been raped and were able to collect DNA the perpetrator left behind.
Later that year, Guzman vanished on the day after Christmas while heading to a local pharmacy to pick up a prescription. Her body was found about a month later. Cops say she was also sexually assaulted.
The cases proved slow going at first, but investigators caught a break several years later when they were allowed to do a “familial search” of DNA databases to see if it would lead them to the relative of the killer as they were unable to connect the DNA they had to anyone for whom they had samples.
The search led cops to Borjas’ father who had been arrested many years earlier. Further investigation led cops to believe Borjas was their man so they began following him and got lucky when he spat on the street.
A sample was collected and when DNA tests were run, they conclusively connected him to the 2011 rapes and murders, cops said.
Borjas could face the death penalty if prosecutors opt to seek it. He was held without bail on tow counts of murder, rape and kidnapping.
His arrested marks only the second time the LAPD has used a familial search to catch a suspect.The first time led to a match in the notorious Grim Sleeper case, connecting Lonnie Franklin Jr. to the serial killings. He was convicted in May 2016 of 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
Some states do not allow for such testing and the tests are considered controversial in California.
“If we stop collection of DNA at time of arrest, if we stop allowing familial searches, then men like this go free,” Beck said.