Using a DNA match with a sex offender convicted in Arizona, homicide detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department caught a suspect in the 21-year-old rape and murder of a Norwalk woman, authorities said Thursday.
DNA recovered from the body of Theresa Vos led investigators to Lawrence Allen Hybarger, 49, in Flat Rock, Ala. He was arrested Wednesday night on a road near his home.
DeKalb County Sheriff Cecil Reed said his department helped locate Hybarger, who worked as a concrete mason and lived with his wife in a rural area near the Georgia border.
Vos was last seen walking to a local shopping center in 1982.
Her bruised body was found inside an irrigation pipe in Fontana the following day, said Sheriff's Det. Tom Kerfoot. Her hands and feet had been bound with rope.
Physical trauma suggested "that she put up a fight and lost," said Kerfoot, who works on unsolved murders in the department's cold case unit. Recent technological advances have helped investigators reopen some unsolved cases.
Sheriff's detectives reanalyzed the Vos case and submitted the DNA to a state database in 1999. The state database merged with a national database and led to the match, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Joe Hartshorne.
The 22-year-old victim was married and had a 3-year-old daughter.
Richard Vos, 40, said his wife, a happy person who was always smiling, was everything to him. He said the passage of time has not relieved his anger.
"It never goes away," he said during a telephone interview. "When somebody hurts someone that you love, you wouldn't forgive them. You can't forgive them."
Vos followed the unsolved murder for a few years before giving up.
"After a while, you kind of lose hope," he said. "You hope you get to meet them in the next life."
Hybarger has a history of sex assault that goes back to the late 1970s, officials said. He was convicted of rape in Texas in 1976. He was also convicted of sexual assault in 1983 in Arizona, which kept a sample of his DNA.