SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — An arrest is being announced in a San Antonio cold case dating back to the summer of 1981.
The Texas Rangers say 68-year-old Larry Allen West was arrested on April 13, 2023 and charged with the murder of 18-year-old Carol Joyce Deleon.
Investigators say new evidence linked West to the killing of the teenager who was not officially reported missing until 2007. They credit Advanced DNA testing under the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program, which is funded by the Department of Justice.
Deleon’s partially nude body was found on June 4, 1981 along I-35 in southern Comal County. While police knew that she died because of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, her identity could not be determined. She was eventually buried as Jane Doe.
The Texas Rangers began reviewing the case in May 2008, a time in which technology had advanced far beyond where it was when Deleon was killed. It turns out she had not been officially reported missing until 2007. The delay in that report was due to the fact that police did not consider her missing in 1981 since she was over 18 and no foul play was suspected. Investigators met with the family and showed them a photo of the Jane Doe, and further testing on the family’s DNA confirmed her identity 27 years after the fact.
Texas Rangers continued to press the case using forensic DNA advancements, and in 2010 they entered that data into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Again, no matches surfaced due in part to the 27-year time frame.
But in 2020, evidence was subjected to Advanced DNA testing under the DPS SAKI program. This time, the testing led to West, which was confirmed through normal forensic DNA testing .
West was arrested and booked into the Bexar County Jail on a $125,000 bond. An indictment and trial are now pending.
Deleon lived in the West Avenue area of San Antonio and had graduated from Thomas Edison High School on May 28, 1981, just days before she died.