Police Identify Suspect in 1993 Slayings of Two Boys
Police said Wednesday that a man imprisoned for rape will be charged in the 1993 slayings of two San Diego boys who disappeared during an afternoon bicycle ride.
New developments in DNA analysis linked Scott Erskine, who is serving a 70-year term in Wasco State Prison, to the slayings of Charles Keever, 13, and Jonathan Sellers, 9. One boy was sexually assaulted.
The discovery of the boys’ bodies in a marshy area near their homes in southern San Diego caused outrage in the community and led to an exhaustive search for the killer.
Police reviewed about 500 suspects and questioned about 1,500 people, Chief David Bejarano said. Billboards with pictures of the boys solicited information.
But it was a new DNA analysis technique, adopted by San Diego police in the last year, that led to the suspect.
“In 1993, when this happened, nobody had any idea of the scientific advancements that would take place and be available in 2001,” said Dist. Atty. Paul Pfingst. “We are here today because of such a scientific breakthrough.”
Investigators used the technique to compare DNA traces recovered from one boy to several suspects, but failed to find a match. Then, a random search of the state database of DNA samples from about 80,000 violent and sexual felons led to Erskine.
“The probability of another person matching the DNA profile recovered from this crime scene is approximately one in 600 billion,” Bejarano said.
Erskine, 38, has been in custody since late 1993. He was sentenced to prison in the 1993 sexual assault of a woman in San Diego. Erskine’s criminal record stretches back 24 years, Bejarano said.
Pfingst said he would consider seeking the death penalty.
“This case involves some of the most serious charges any community can expect--that is the multiple murder of young people involving allegations of sexual abuse at the time of their death,” Pfingst said. “This is as bad as crimes get inside a community.”
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