Sheriff's office says suspect confessed in Castro Valley woman's murder

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Investigators have announced an arrest in an arson-murder that baffled them for months. It happened at an East Bay home in December and took the life of a mother. (KGO-TV)

There has been a big break in a horrific murder case that left anxious and a family shattered.

RELATED: Charging documents say Castro Valley woman tortured before home set on fire

Five months after a Castro Valley woman was murdered, and her house set on fire, Alameda County sheriff's arrested a man already in jail.

Luckie Ducanay, 36, is charged with the special circumstance murder of Andrea St. John.

"We believe the suspect went to the residence late in the evening to commit a burglary, steal some items out of the garage and was confronted by the victim," said Greg Ahern of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. "And at the time, he killed her and burned the structure -- the residence, in order to hide the evidence."

Castro Valley officials hold news conference on Andrea St. John's homicide
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The Alameda County sheriff's department held a news conference on the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Castro Valley woman.

"Everybody needs their mom." In February, St. John's oldest daughter told ABC7 News how important it was to her family to find the killer. "My mom is the last person -- the last person you would expect anything like this to happen to," said Ashley Britton.

RELATED: Officials say woman's injuries were brutal in arson, murder

Sheriffs also released surveillance video showing a man walking near St. John's house and they released photos of a Toyota linked to the suspect. The car was found in Tracey.

"That vehicle was stolen just two days before the homicide and was recovered on May 4.," Ahern told ABC7 News.

The Parmas own the cameras that captured video of the suspect. "What they had to piece together with what little evidence that had here, and then to put it all together was a really great job, said neighbor Biaggio Parma.

Ducanay will first face molestation charges in San Joaquin County, then be sent to Alameda County for the St. John case.
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