'It could have been me' Stanford 1974 graduate reflects on horrific cold case

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Police say they solved the cold case murder of a young woman who went to Stanford in 1974. Her brutal killing has stirred up emotions in current students as well as alumni.

Sylvia Avalos Baldwin graduated from Stanford in 1974, the time of Arlis Perry's murder. She had a job on campus and would frequently visit Stanford's famous memorial church where Perry was found brutalized.

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"It's on the altar of this incredible chapel (that) she's been horribly violated. It sounds satanic," said Baldwin, looking at the church's gorgeous architecture. "And you think,'Oh my God. It could have been me.'"

Posted in their online archives, The Stanford Daily article published the Monday after the weekend murder includes details about Steve Crawford, the security guard who found Perry dead and later became a suspect.

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Baldwin remembers vividly how her perceived safe and idyllic life at Stanford changed in an instant. "There was some maniac out there. All of the sudden you're being told don't walk alone at night, lock your doors."

Golden State Killer investigator Paul Holes explains why DNA is so crucial when it comes to solving cold cases. "You are now dealing with human lifespans," he said. "So people that you are investigating or witnesses that you want to talk to, they have passed away during that time. Evidence has degraded."

Holes says in the past two years there have been major advances in DNA recovery at crime scenes and the development of actual DNA proflies.

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