A man was arrested Thursday in connection with a 2012 homicide cold case when his DNA was imputed into the FBI database and came up as a match.
Francisco Lopez, 23, was arrested in connection with the 2012 death of Colombe Smithdeal, records show.
After submitting his DNA to law enforcement on Aug. 20, per the terms of a prior criminal damage conviction, the Arizona Department of Public Safety discovered on Tuesday that the DNA sample was a match to DNA found at the 2012 crime scene left by the assailant, court records detail.
On Dec. 16, 2012, Smithdeal was found dead near Indian School Road and 108th Avenue in Avondale, records show.
Avondale police observed Smithdeal, 58, had suffered multiple facial fractures and massive blood loss leading to her death, records show.
Smithdeal had also been sexually assaulted and numerous items of evidence, including biological samples, were collected, records show.
Saliva and semen belonging to the assailant were collected and imputed to the FBI CODIS system, a combined DNA index system used by police, at the time of the original investigation, records detail.
On Tuesday, the Avondale Police Department received a copy of a scientific examination report from Public Safety, which advised a DNA match had been found for the unknown assailant in the 2012 cold case and listed Lopez as the DNA match, court records show.
Lopez, who lived within 700 yards from the scene at the time of the crime, turned 18 years old 3 days prior to the incident, records detail.
Lopez at the time also was attending Westview High School, and the crime occurred only a few feet from the northern property line of the school, records show.
Lopez was taken to the Avondale City Jail. In a post-Miranda interview, he said he had attended a house party the night before the murder and had been drinking alcohol, records show.
Lopez said he had “‘blacked out’ and the next thing he remembered was waking up next to a partially nude female behind the AutoZone, court records detail.
Lopez described specific details of the crime and said he left the crime scene and walked to his home, cutting through Westview High School before arriving home, throwing his bloody clothing away and taking a shower, court records detail.
Lopez said he didn’t report the incident to police, and he did not remember killing the victim, according to court records. He also told detectives he wouldn’t deny what happened because his DNA was located at the scene, records state.
Lopez was charged with one count of second-degree homicide, one count of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping, records show.
Lopez is due in court Nov. 8.