Bay Area man arrested in 1989 cold-case killing on San Bruno Mountain

San Bruno Mountain
Map shows the location of San Bruno Mountain, where the body of Sheila Lorraine Hatcher, 27, was found in 1989.

An unsolved homicide from 25 years ago in San Mateo County in which a woman was sexually assaulted then killed on San Bruno Mountain has been solved, authorities announced Thursday.

Sheriff’s officials said they arrested Gabriel Rey O’Neill, 45, in connection with the slaying of Sheila Lorraine Hatcher, 27, in 1989. After the initial investigation faltered the case went cold until last year, when Hatcher’s family asked detectives to reexamine it.

Hatcher’s body was found in a ravine by two hikers, but detectives were unable to link any suspects to the crime. The coroner’s office concluded that she had been sexually assaulted and died of blunt force trauma.

Detectives resubmitted some of the crime scene evidence for forensics testing and hit a match in O’Neill, a registered sex offender, authorities said.


On Monday sheriff’s deputies spotted O’Neill driving near his Bay Area home in Brisbane and arrested him. He was being held without bail on suspicion of murder. 

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