Bay Area rapist arrested, linked to 2 cold case homicides

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A suspected rapist connected to 2 cold case homicides was arrested this week. 

According to police, James Ray Gary had avoided law enforcement for 42 years. The 76-year-old man was booked into the Solano County Jail on Tuesday with no bail. 

Investigators connected Gary to the death of Latrelle Lindsay through a DNA match. Police said Lindsay was raped and strangled inside her home in the summer of 1980. 

“At the time, no suspects were identified in this killing. A DNA sample was later sent for entry and search in a law enforcement database, but no match was made,” UCPD wrote.

In 1996, another woman’s body was found hidden in the bushes along Highway 780 in Vallejo. The victim was identified as Winifred Douglas, 46, of Berkeley. An autopsy determined that Douglas was strangled and beaten to death. 

DNA was collected from the Vallejo crime scene and was sent to the California Department of Justice for DNA analysis. A single DNA profile was found, but no match was made in the FBI’s DNA database. 

James Ray Gary’s mug shot (Union City PD)

In 2012, investigators found that DNA from the Solano County homicide matched the DNA collected from the Union City homicide. However, no suspect has yet been identified, according to the UCPD. 

Investigators narrowed down the suspect to Gary when a North Bay law enforcement agency found that DNA gathered from a 2021 sexual assault matched the DNA from the two cold cases. 

“On July 18, 2022, our office was notified that the submitted DNA sample from James Ray Gary matched all three crimes. A warrant was obtained for his arrest and to search his home,” UCPD wrote.

Gary was arrested in Fairfield Tuesday afternoon on homicide charges.

“We are hopeful that this arrest can help bring some closure to the families and friends that have been seeking justice for as much as 40 years,” the Union City Police Department wrote Thursday.