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VIDEO: Colorado Man Arrested in 1973 Cold Case Killing of 11-Year-Old Newport Beach Girl

February 20, 2019 - 10:40 am

(KNX 1070) - An arrest has been made in the cold case killing of an 11-year-old girl in Newport Beach all the way back in 1973.

James Neal of Colorado taken into custody in Monument, Colorado and is now being held without bond in jail.

During a press conference Wednesday morning, Orange County DA Todd Spitzer said the 72-year-old Colorado man has been arrested in the murder of a young girl in Newport Beach in 1973.

Linda Ann O'Keefe was found in a ditch in the Back Bay after going missing a day earlier walking home from school.

Witnesses had spotted a man driving in a van in the area the day she disappeared and a woman living on a bluff heard a scream late that night.

The case went cold for years.

But, authorities were able to use DNA from the young girl’s dress and a tool called the Parabon Snapshot to develop a new sketch of what the suspect may look like today.  The DNA was key.

The arrest follows police releasing a video on the 45th anniversary of Linda's death last year, featuring a new sketch of the suspect developed through DNA evidence.

The Newport Police also released a series of tweets in July 2018 with tweets written as if from the victim's point of view. 

Here are a few of the tweets the Newport Police Department tweeted out July 2018: