On Nov. 14, 1984, a young police officer in Huntington Beach saw his first homicide victim. Her hands and feet were bound, and she had been strangled. Over the next 23 years, Mike Reilly, now a detective, would periodically think of Elizabeth Hoffschneider and the killer who was never found.
“It has impact on you emotionally and career-wise. You want closure,” said Huntington Beach Police Lt. Dave Bunetta. “Throughout all these years, Det. Reilly really kept an interest in this case.”
This week, his work paid off with the help of DNA testing on evidence in the case.
Gerald Su Go, 51, was being held in connection with Hoffschneider’s slaying. He could face charges of murder during the commission of rape, burglary and robbery. If convicted, Go could face life without parole.
Go, who had worked intermittently as a veterinarian’s assistant, was arrested Tuesday in his apartment in Toronto, Canada. He will face extradition proceedings.
Hoffschneider was a 38-year-old office manager of a medical supply business in Fountain Valley. She lived alone in a large apartment complex. She was found lying on her bed, the bedroom was ransacked. There was no evidence of a break-in.
Neighbors told investigators they heard screaming and gagging sounds from the woman’s apartment, but said they did not call police because each assumed someone else would. Co- workers found her body after she failed to show up for work.
Huntington Beach police said they linked Go to the slaying using forensic technology at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department crime lab. Lt. Bunetta would not be specific about the evidence tested.
Go, originally from the Philippines, received Canadian citizenship in 1990, according to Toronto police. He returned to the U.S. in 2004 and was promptly arrested on suspicion of a 1986 sexual assault in Costa Mesa. He was convicted, served 2 1/2 years and was deported to Canada.
“This is one case they never really closed the books on. It really paid off,” said Toronto Police Sgt. Paul MacIntyre.
Reilly, in Canada investigating the case, could not be reached for comment.