Noelle Russo's body was found near Sonoma State on June 1983 after being beaten to death.
ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- A major break in the killing of a North Bay woman that had gone unsolved for 40 years. Sixty-five-year-old Alfredo Carretero Jr. of Lakeport has been arrested and charged with murder in the case. Detectives say DNA evidence has linked him to the crime.
Thirty-seven-year-old Noelle Russo was found beaten to death and naked near Petaluma Hill Road and East Cotati Avenue near Sonoma State University in unincorporated Rohnert Park back in 1983.
"Noelle was a close friend, if not at the time, a best friend of my mom and my mom's name was Laura Serbin," said Dominique Espinosa.
Dominique tells us her mom, who kept a picture of Noelle until her passing in 2019, was with Russo the night she went missing.
"They kind of liked to bar hop a little bit and just like anybody in the area have a little bit of fun, and that's what they were doing the night that she went missing. They split up, she said Noelle may have been talking to an ex-boyfriend but she didn't think it was him that she went off with - but somehow they got separated at night and she couldn't get ahold of her the whole next day and then they of course found her," said Espinosa.
Dominique showed us some of the old Press Democrat newspaper articles that her mom had saved about Noelle's case. In those articles, detectives said that Russo never made it to a bus in Santa Rosa that would have brought her back to Rohnert Park the night she went missing. More than 48 hours passed and her body was then found in this area.
Now 40 years later, detectives say DNA evidence has linked Carretero to her killing. Authorities haven't said if the two knew each other.
Dominique showed us the ring that Noelle's family gave her mom after Noelle's death, a symbol to her of how much Noelle had meant to her family. She says her mom even kept a journal and often wrote about her friend Noelle.
"I think her eyes twinkled when she looked at her. She was just a beautiful person and that is one thing that shined through in my mom's writing that this was somebody she really cared about and it just devastated her that she lost her. I'm grateful for the detectives, I'm grateful for Noelle's family not giving up hope and just to- even though we haven't met, letting Noelle's family know she touched many lives and she's been thought of daily ever since this happened to her," said Dominique.
Here's the full statement from Sonoma County Sheriff's Office:
Arrest made in 40-year-old cold case homicide investigation.
On June 27, 1983, deputies were dispatched to a report of a deceased, naked woman in the unincorporated area of Rohnert Park. The woman, who was later identified as Noelle Russo (Kinzie), had been beaten to death. Detectives with the Violent Crime Investigations (VCI) Unit began an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Ms. Russo.
Deputies and detectives collected a significant amount of evidence during this investigation, and numerous interviews were conducted. Detectives developed certain persons of interest over the years, but no arrests were made.
Through the years, VCI detectives continued to work on Ms. Russo's case and, from 2010 through 2023, submitted several items of evidence for DNA analysis to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab and the Serological Research Institute. One of the original persons of interest, Alfredo Carretero Jr., was positively identified as a suspect in Ms. Russo's murder based on DNA and other evidence. VCI detectives obtained a warrant to arrest Carretero Jr. for the murder of Noelle Russo.
On October 2, 2023, detectives arrested Carretero Jr, 65, Lakeport. Throughout this investigation, detectives worked closely with the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office. Carretero Jr. was booked into the Main Adult Detention Facility for murder. He's being held with no bail.
The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office and Sonoma County District Attorney's Office are both dedicated to justice for murder victims, whether the case is new or old. The VCI Unit continues to investigate many cold cases and relentlessly pursue justice for the victims of violent crime.
Ms. Russo's family has been notified of the arrest and would appreciate privacy.
Anyone with information related to this case, any other cold case, or current violent crime is asked to contact the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office at 707-565-2185 or submit an anonymous tip here.
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