CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- Concord police, with the help of the FBI and the Contra Costa District Attorney's office, announced the arrest of a murder suspect in Utah for a killing that happened in the East Bay back in the 1990s.
The victim was a transgender woman and the suspect is a trucker.
"I never thought it was going to be solved. I screamed over the phone!" said Brittany Shoras who was friends with the victim.
We broke news to Shoras that murder suspect James Grimsley of Utah had been arrested in her friend Terrie Ladwig's killing.
Ladwig, 28, was killed in a Concord apartment on Adelaide Street a little more than 28 years ago. The arrest though happened last Thursday.
"She was a great woman, she had a great personality, she made people laugh. She would brighten my day when she came in. We talked about transgender issues and the laws that we didn't have back in those days that we have today," said Shoras.
Ladwig identified as transgender, and even though it was 1994, she was married to a U.S. Navy sailor at the time of the killing. Her husband is not a suspect but was the one who found her body inside their apartment after being away on military leave. Concord police tell us that he has been notified of the arrest.
Police say she had been beaten and strangled to death.
"I can tell you it was a violent scene, looked like there was a violent struggle between Terrie and the suspect," said Lt. Sean Donnelly of the Concord Police Department.
"Is there any believe that this was a hate murder? That she was killed because she was transgender?" we asked.
"You know we're not certain of the motive but that is certainly a possibility," said Lt. Donnelly.
Police say the suspect in Ladwig's murder, Grimsley, is a truck driver. They won't say how they linked him to the killing but do say, "There is forensic evidence in the case." They had been working closely with the FBI and Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office over the last six to eight months to make the arrest.
Shoras, who identifies as transgender herself, has questions for the suspect.
"Did you know? Did you know she was trans? Did you get homophobic and get crazy on her? I know she was tied up with the telephone cord. What was you thinking about?" said Shoras.
James Grimsley is behind bars in Utah, being held on a $1 million bond. Police are hopeful to extradite him back to Contra Costa County very soon.
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