DNA tech leads to arrest in 2006 sword murder

LA MESA, Calif. -- An investigation this month by La Mesa police led to an arrest in a murder dating back to 2006, all thanks to DNA technology.

“I didn’t think this day was going to come – and it means a lot," said Angelina Martinez, the victim's daughter.

Back in 2006, 47 year-old Scott Martinez returned to his La Mesa home early one morning and was stabbed multiple times by a man with a sword.

“It was Fathers’ Day weekend -- the day before Fathers’ Day -- and it changed my life for the past 12-and-a-half years," Angelina said. Despite collecting suspect blood samples, no suspect matches were made and the case went cold.

Fast-forward to 2018 and, shortly after genetic genealogy helped capture the Golden State Killer, the La Mesa Police Department decided to see if the same technology could help solve the Martinez case.

They worked with Parabon NanoLabs – the same company that helped recently identify a suspect in the 2007 murder of Jodine Serrin from Carlsbad -- to access public DNA records.

“We’re not accessing AncestryDNA, 23andMe. There's a misconception we’re using DNA from there. You can get your DNA tested and it’s not being used by law enforcement, unless you voluntarily choose to upload it to GedMatch, that public database," CeCe Moore, chief genetic genealogist with Parabon NanoLabs, explained.

Multiple matches surfaced, linking distant relatives with the suspect, identified as 38-year old Zachary Bunney. He was found in Oregon, where he was arrested two weeks ago.

Bunney was brought back to San Diego County Thursday to face charges.

“I’m excited for the outcome for us -- excited for every other case in the future that is left to be solved. Other families are going to get closer the way I did," said Martinez.

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