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Byline: JASON Jason, in Greek mythology
Jason, in Greek mythology, son of Aeson. When Pelias usurped the throne of Iolcus and killed (or imprisoned) Aeson and most of his descendants, Jason was smuggled off to the centaur Chiron, who reared him secretly on Mt. Pelion.
 AUSLANDER aus·land·er  
A foreigner.

[German Ausländer, from Ausland, foreign country : aus-, away (from Middle High German

Susan LaPorte had been in Santa Fe Santa Fe, city, Argentina
Santa Fe, city (1991 pop. 341,000), capital of Santa Fe prov., NE Argentina, a river port near the Paraná, with which it is connected by canal.
 only two days when an unknown man bound, raped and strangled stran·gle  
v. stran·gled, stran·gling, stran·gles
a. To kill by squeezing the throat so as to choke or suffocate; throttle.

 her, then left her body in an arroyo northwest of downtown.

For nearly 21/2 decades, the case has confounded Santa Fe police investigators as the few promising leads generated over the years have led to nothing but dead ends.

Until now.

The breakthrough occurred less than a month ago when Santa Fe police Detective Tony Trujillo Tony Trujillo (born August 23, 1982 in Santa Rosa, California) is an American skateboarder. He is noted for his anti-corporate attitude and love for rock and roll, as well as his aggressive skating style.  -- who has been expecting for years to encounter other victims of the man who killed LaPorte -- got a call from Bill Peters, a retired FBI agent and member of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office cold case squad. Peters was working on the case of Maria Padilla Maria Padilla is a melodramma, or opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Gaetano Rossi and the composer wrote the Italian libretto after François Ancelot's play. It premiered on May 19, 1842 at La Scala, Milan. , 29, who was found raped and murdered in May 1985 in the bosque along the Rio Grande Rio Grande, city, Brazil
Rio Grande (rē` grän`dĭ), city (1991 pop.
 in Albuquerque's South Valley.

Peters said Friday that to his surprise, he was able to retrieve Padilla's DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
 or deoxyribonucleic acid

One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes.
 samples from the state crime lab in Santa Fe and the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque and have them successfully retested. The resulting DNA profile yielded no matches in a national database, but came up as a match of the DNA sample taken from LaPorte's body, he said.

"We know that both of these girls were killed by the same guy seven months apart," Peters said.

"This is a big breakthrough in the LaPorte case," Trujillo said Thursday. "We are really excited -- or at least I am -- because there's another victim. And we think there are more out there."

Padilla was an athletic woman who regularly ran along the levee levee (lĕv`ē) [Fr.,=raised], embankment built along a river to prevent flooding by high water. Levees are the oldest and the most extensively used method of flood control.  of a drainage ditch next to the Rio Grande, Peters said. "One day she went out for her usual run and she didn't come back," Peters said.

Trujillo said the killing occurred in San Gabriel San Gabriel (săn gā`brēəl), city (1990 pop. 37,120), Los Angeles co., SW Calif.; inc. 1913. Fabric, furniture, paper products, tools, and aircraft parts are manufactured.  Park near Tingley Beach.

Concerned family members who knew Padilla's running route searched the area the next day and discovered her body, he said. She was found naked from the waist down with her pants hanging from a nearby tree, Trujillo said.

Padilla had been severely beaten -- including one punch that broke her neck -- and appeared to have possibly put up a fight before she was killed, Peters said. Her killer dragged her not far off the jogging path. Padilla died of strangulation strangulation /stran·gu·la·tion/ (strang?gu-la´shun)
1. choke (2).

2. arrest of circulation in a part due to compression. See hemostasis (2).

, he said. There were no signs that she had been tied up, he said.

LaPorte, 25, had come to Santa Fe to visit a friend. She dropped her friend off at work on Dec. 4, 1985, took the friend's car and said she wanted to find a sunny place to read a book, Trujillo has said. No one saw her again until former Santa Fe Police Chief Beverly Lennen --then a patrol officer -- found her body underneath a juniper tree in an arroyo behind what is now Santa Fe Spa and The Lodge hotel.

The only sign that LaPorte put up a struggle was a bloody nose, suggesting the killer punched her, Trujillo said. She was bound

with a rope that was knotted around her

neck, and ran down to her wrists, where it was knotted again. The rope work made investigators think the killer might be a cowboy, he has said.

FBI profilers looked at the case in March 2007 and almost immediately said the killer had to have other victims, Trujillo said. However, police had been unable to connect any suspect to LaPorte. That made FBI profilers suspect that the original DNA had been contaminated contaminated,
v 1. made radioactive by the addition of small quantities of radioactive material.
2. made contaminated by adding infective or radiographic materials.
3. an infective surface or object.
. But Trujillo was able to dig up the T-shirt LaPorte had been wearing, which contained a semen stain. That stain was tested and came back as a match to the original DNA sample.

Peters said he thinks Padilla might have been the killer's first victim because "he was kind of sloppy here."

"It was kinda like he was experimenting," he said.

With LaPorte seven months later, the killer brought rope to control his victim. LaPorte was not nearly as beaten as Padilla, he said. "He was a little more prepared than before."

Peters and Trujillo met on Thursday to compare notes about the killings. Peters, a civilian investigator, is trying to track down the two original suspects in the Padilla killing and do other research. Trujillo plans to go through pre-1985 rape cases and try to find DNA samples that might match LaPorte and Padilla's killer. Both men believe the killer almost certainly had other victims.

"We don't give up easy," Peters said.

Contact Jason Auslander at 986-3076

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Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Oct 10, 2009

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