Bakersfield man to stand trial for 1980s killings in LA County's first genetic genealogy case

Horace Van Vaultz Jr.
Posted at 1:59 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 17:11:18-04

(KERO) — Decades after the slayings of two women, a Bakersfield man will face a jury in Los Angeles County's first investigative genetic genealogy case, the LA District Attorney's Office announced.

Horace Van Vaultz, Jr. is charged with two counts of murder with the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, as well as sexual assault allegations.

Police say Vaultz killed 22-year-old Mary Duggan on June 9, 1986. Her body was found in the trunk of her car in an empty Burbank parking lot. She had been bound, sexually assaulted and died from asphyxia after a tissue was stuffed down her throat.

He is also charged with murdering Selena Keough on July 16, 1981, in San Bernardino County. The 20-year-old mother was found under some bushes on a street in Montclair. She also had been bound, sexually assaulted and strangled.

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Vaultz is due back in court on April 16 for his arraignment. He faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged. A decision on whether to seek capital punishment will be made at a later date.

According to Superior Court records, Vaultz has a criminal history here in Kern County.

In September 2005, he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of spousal abuse and a count of disturbing the peace.

In April 2007, he was charged again with misdemeanor spousal abuse, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm and disturbing the peace. He was given two days in jail and two years probation.

The investigators working the case Vaultz is currently charged with are hoping to find out if he could be linked to other unsolved crimes throughout the state.

If you have any information regarding these cases or the defendant, please contact the Burbank Police Department tip line at (818) 238-3086.