Bay Area executive arrested for 1992 death of woman in Mountain View

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Laurie Houts

Modern forensic science technology has led to the arrest of a Bay Area executive suspected of strangling a woman to death 30 years ago in Mountain View. 

According to the Santa Clara County Office of the District Attorney, John Kevin Woodward, 58, president and chief executive of ReadyTech, was arrested Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as he arrived from Amsterdam. 

On Monday, he waived extradition and is to be escorted to the Bay Area by Mountain View detectives by the end of the month. 

District Attorney Jeff Rosen said that Woodward would be prosecuted when he arrives.  

Laurie Houts

Woodward is the prime suspect in the 1992 death of 25-year-old Laurie Houts. 

Houts, a computer engineer, was found dead on September 5, 1992, in her car on Crittenden Lane in Mountain View, near a garbage dump about a mile from her work. 

According to authorities, the rope used to kill her was still around her neck, and her footprints were seen on the windshield interior, indicating she struggled with her attacker. 

Woodward’s fingerprints were found on the outside of the car. However, investigators in 1992 failed to show he was ever inside the vehicle. 

Last year, the Santa Clara County Crime Lab and Mountain View Police Department detectives used advanced forensic science technology to link Woodward to the rope found on Hout’s neck. 

Authorities suspect Woodward was openly jealous of Houts and had an unrequited romantic attachment to her boyfriend, who was his roommate. 

The district attorney said Woodward was tried twice unsuccessfully in the late 1990s, but the case was dismissed for insufficient evidence. 

Woodward moved to the Netherlands after the case was dismissed. 

He is held without bail in New York while awaiting extradition to California.