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Santa Barbara detectives reopen 1975 cold case investigation

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Posted at 3:19 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 18:19:52-04

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Detectives are reopening the investigation into the decades-old unsolved killing of a teenage boy near Santa Barbara with the help of technology that didn’t exist at the time.

The body of 16-year-old Paul Ornelas was found in an unincorporated area on June 21, 1975, but an investigation over several years never led to arrests.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says investigators will now use a tool called the ANDE Rapid DNA instrument that can process very tiny levels of biological evidence left at crime scenes.

Horace Van Vaultz Jr.

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The technology has been used in cases such as the 2019 Conception dive boat fire.

In that case, the device was used to rapidly identify the dead.