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Police, prosecutors seek witnesses to 1973 murder of 11-year-old, release vintage photo of defendant

Police sought witnesses to the 1973 killing of an 11-year-old girl and, on Thursday, Feb. 21, released an old photograph of a man who had been identified as a suspect and arrested with the aid of DNA evidence.

The picture of James Alan Neal, 72, of Monument, Colorado, who is a defendant in the kidnapping and murder of Linda O’Keefe, was taken between 1970 and 1980, according to a news release from the Newport Beach Police Department. He was taken into custody Tuesday after a sample he submitted to a genealogy website matched evidence obtained by investigators.

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Neal also went by the name Albert Layton Jr., according to the release, and spent several years living in Riverside. Authorities hope the sepia tinted photo of Neal smiling with a mustache and bushy haircut will help potential witnesses remember details relevant to the decades-old killing. Officers have asked people to contact the Newport Beach Police Department’s Cold Case Tip Line, 949-644-3669, with information possibly related to their investigation.

O’Keefe was last seen walking to home her home in Corona del Mar before she went missing 45 years ago on Friday, July 6. Relatives and police searched for her through the night. She was found strangled in a ditch off of Newport Beach’s Back Bay the next morning.

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The case went cold. At one point, a suspect admitted to killing O’Keefe, but his confession turned out to be false.

In July of 2018, Police released a sketch based on DNA evidence collected during their investigation and began a social media campaign behind the hashtag #LinsasStory in hopes of tracking down a suspect. Then, in January, a sample submitted to the website FamilyTreeDNA.com led police to identify Neal as a suspect.

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Source: Orange County Register

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