(KTLA) – A retired cross-country truck driver has been charged in the cold-case killing of a young mother whose body was found near an interstate in Riverside County, California, nearly 30 years ago, officials announced Friday.
The suspect, 67-year-old Douglas Thomas, is already in custody in Texas, where he was arrested in late May on suspicion of killing a woman in 1992. Now, the recently retired truck driver has been linked to the killing of Sherri Herrera, a 30-year-old mother of four from Tulare, California, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said.
On March 30, 1993, Herrera’s body was found on an eastbound interstate onramp in the Desert Center area of Riverside County. Thomas, meanwhile, had already been arrested in Texas on suspicion of murdering a separate woman. He was tied to the 1992 Texas killing after authorities found a DNA match to evidence from the crime scene.
Investigators from a Riverside County then found that Thomas’ DNA was also connected to evidence gathered during the investigation into Herrera’s murder, officials said. Thomas had also worked as a truck driver during the early ’90s. He held the job for four decades, traveling “extensively throughout the United States” during this time, according to the DA’s office.
Riverside County investigators questioned Thomas about Herrera’s killing. He was ultimately charged with murder, as well as a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a rape.
Thomas is scheduled to stand trial in Texas for murder of the Texas woman before being extradited to California to be prosecuted for Herrera’s murder. Authorities are asking anyone who may have any information about the victim or suspect to contact the Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team at 951-955-2777.