New Mexico man arrested in California cold case murder

Crime

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – A man in New Mexico has been arrested for a cold case murder that took place in Anaheim, California in the 1980s. New Mexico State Police report 64-year-old William Lepere from Alamogordo was arrested on Wednesday, April 28.

Viola Hagenkord (courtesy Anaheim Police Dept.)

According to the Anaheim Police Department, the murder took place on February 18, 1980. Anaheim Police state that officers responded to 79-year-old Viola Hagenkord’s apartment after a neighbor had entered her residence and found her dead. Police also say she was sexually assaulted.

Authorities say neighbors were worried after she hadn’t been seen for two days which was unusual as she was well known around the apartment community. Anaheim Police homicide detectives investigated the case and collected “valuable evidence” however the case went cold as no suspects were identified.

Viola Hagenkord’s apartment (courtesy Anaheim Police Dept.)

Police report that the case was being investigated again in September 2020 in which homicide detectives collaborated with the Orange County Crime Lab and the FBI’s Orange County Violent Crime Task Force. It was then that authorities say they identified Lepere as a suspect.

Authorities say NMSP Tactical Team and officers from the Fugitive Apprehension Unit helped the Anaheim Police Department from California in tracking Lepere. During the investigation, police obtained a search warrant which was served by NMSP on Lepere’s residence.

He was taken into custody and arrested without incident. Lepere has been transported to the Otero County Detention Center where is was booked on murder charges and will be held without bond before being extradited to California.

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