SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office has solved their oldest homicide case to date as they identified the suspect in the 1970 murder of Nancy Bennallack.
In a press conference on Wednesday police said they have identified Richard John Davis as the suspected killer of the then 27-year-old Bennallack.
Davis was 27-years-old at the time of the murder and lived in the same building as Bennallack, according to the sheriff’s office.
In 2004, a DNA profile was developed from blood drops found at the scene and an unknown male profile was uploaded to the state and national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office said that no matches were made until November 2019 when investigators with the sheriff’s cold case team and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office began a Forensic Genetic Genealogy Investigation.
On July 21 Davis was identified as the suspect.
The sheriff’s office said Davis died in Sacramento County on Nov. 2, 1997.
In attendance at the press conference were Sacramento Sheriff Undersheriff Jim Barnes, retired Homicide Detective Micki Links, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and representatives of the victim’s family.
On Oct. 25, 1970 Bennallack, a court reporter in Sacramento County, was found dead in her upstairs apartment at Arden Way and Bell Avenue where she lived by herself, according to case records.
Deputies at the time reported that Bennallack’s fiance, Chief Public Defender Farris Salamy, was the last person to see her alive at around 11:30 p.m. on October 25.
“She lived in a second-story apartment, and she had the sliding glass door open a little bit because she had a cat, and she wanted to make sure the cat could go in and out,” Links said in a 2016 FOX40 article.
As Bennallack was sleeping someone snuck into her room and stabbed her to death, according to Links.
Links said that Bennallack was stabbed 30 times and wounds showed that she did attempt to fight Davis.
When Bennallack did not show up for work the next day, the son of her co-worker went to the apartment manager for assistance getting into Bennacllack’s room, according to police.
Nancy was then found dead in her room, according to police reports.
Bennallack is one of two homicide cold cases from 1970 the sheriff’s office has been working on, according to the sheriff’s office records.
Fellow Arden resident Judith Hakar also found dead on April 25, 1970
On March 7, 1970 Judith Hakar, Bennallack’s neighbor, was found dead in Weimar after she is believed to have been abducted.
At the time Hakar and Bennallack would have been able to look from their apartment to the others building only a block away.
The 23-year-old nurse was last seen leaving her work at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento at around 11:30 p.m. on March 7, according to sheriff’s office reports.
Hakar’s fiance was waiting for her at the apartment, but at 1:30 p.m. when she hadn’t made it home her fiance went to the parking lot, according to Links in a previous article.
“He went out to the apartment complex parking lot and discovered her car was parked in the assigned space that she had,” Links said.
On April 25, 1970 hikers discovered her body in a shallow grave in Weimar, Placer County about 40 miles from her home, according to sheriff’s officer records.
Links said that she had been strangled and bludgeoned to death.
Link said that the two cases have a lot of similarities.
“They’re both professional women, working jobs,” Links said. “Both young and in love, they’re going to get married.”