Using DNA evidence, investigators were able to solve the 1982 murder of a 5-year-old California girl who vanished while making her way to kindergarten. A 70-year-old Nevada man has been charged in the case, according to authorities.
Robert John Lanoue, of Reno, Nevada, was due in court on Monday in Washoe County for a hearing regarding his extradition to Monterey County in California after being charged last week with killing Anne Pham.
On January 21, 1982, Pham vanished as she made her way to kindergarten at Highland Elementary School in Seaside, California. Two days later, in the former Fort Ord, her body was discovered.
According to California authorities, the child had been kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and strangled.
Lanoue, a Nevada-registered sex offender, was 29 years old when the girl was killed and resided close to her Seaside home, according to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni.
After receiving a grant to reopen cold cases, the case was reopened in 2020 when detectives with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Task Force collaborated with the Seaside Police Department to submit evidence from the case for DNA testing.
According to Pacioni, Lanoue was charged with one count of first-degree murder along with special circumstance allegations that he killed Pham while also engaging in kidnapping and a lewd act on a minor.
If Lanoue has a lawyer who can represent him, that information was not immediately available.
According to Pacioni, California investigators were able to secure a warrant for Lanoue’s arrest on July 6. Records showed that Lanoue was already incarcerated in the Washoe County jail when he was arrested on June 8 for a parole infraction.