SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) - Police said an admitted killer, who they thought was also responsible for two cold-cases murders, is not their suspect after DNA test results exclude him from the consideration.
In February, police submitted DNA from Kenneth Ray Luna to see if he committed the murders of Susan Laporte and Maria Padilla in 1985. Both women were raped and strangled.
Detectives thought he may have committed the crimes since he had confessed in 1987 to a similar crime. He said he had raped and strangled at least two New Mexico women and even led detectives to the body of one victim.
Luna was never convicted on that case because he killed himself shortly after that confession in jail.
Since Luna was dead detectives for the Laporte and Padilla cases were trying to track down some of his DNA. Investigators were told evidence of his autopsy was destroyed in a fire so they asked his family for help.
Two of Luna's half-sisters said they would give their DNA if it would help close the cold cases.
Shortly after one sister submitted her DNA detectives found a swab of Luna's DNA at another warehouse. That DNA was tested against the suspect's in the Laporte and Padilla murders. Lt. Louis Carlos of the Santa Fe Police Department said those test results were sent to police this week.
"We are excluding Mr. Luna as the suspect in the homicide of Mrs. Laporte," Carlos said.
Carlos said Luna's DNA did not match their suspect's. He said it was a disappointment for detectives. The news was bittersweet for Luna's sister Delnita Andresen.
"I'm glad it's not him," Andresen said, "But like my sister, there is no closure for that family or families on who did it."
Delnita said she was willing to donate her DNA because she wanted to help the victims' families even if it meant her brother could be labeled a serial rapist and murderer.
She said the past few months have been agonizing.
"Well it's just sitting on the edge of our seat hoping that this gets resolved," Andresen said.
Andresen said hearing the news that her brother was excluded as a suspect in the 1985 murders was a relief.
"It's good to know that he's not as big of mass murderer as I thought he was," Andresen said.
Andresen said her sister, Luna's other half-sister, had a different reaction because she too wanted closure for the victims' families.
"Her first reaction was she hoped it was him," Andresen said.
Since Luna confessed to raping and killing more than one woman in New Mexico, Andresen worries this will not be the last time she hears from police.
Detectives are asking anyone with information on either of those cases to call Santa Fe police.
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