DAs office not charging Alhambra man arrested for 2004 murder of woman found in trunk of car *UPDATE

2.10.12

The District Attorneys office is not charging Richard Munnecke, who was arrested on Wednesday after police linked him via DNA with a woman found murdered in her car in 2004, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune is reporting. "Evidence was presented and reviewed for filing consideration and, ultimately, it was determined there was not sufficient evidence," Shiara Davila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, told the Tribune.

2.9.12

Alhambra resident Richard Allan Munnecke, who police linked via DNA with a woman who was found murdered in her car in 2004, was arrested on Wednesday at his home on North Almansor Street where he lived with his wife Gail.

The Pasadena Star-News reports that he was on the Tournament of Roses Committee and Donna Lee Kelly, whose suffocated body was found in her car trunk three weeks after she disappeared, was a volunteer.

Read the entire Sheriff's Department Press Release:

DNA Match Leads LASD to 2004 San Gabriel Cold Case Homicide Arrest of 71-year old man

A 71-year-old Alhambra man was arrested for a 2004 murder by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Detectives Wednesday.

The arrest culminated an eight year investigation of the murder of 59-year-old Donna Lee Kelly, whose suffocated body was found in the trunk of her car three weeks after her disappearance.

Donna Kelly was last seen on March 24, 2004, at her apartment located in the 7200 block of Jackson Place, North San Gabriel (unincorporated). Her daughter, Diane, reported Kelly missing on April 4, 2004, and pleaded publicly through the news media for the safe return of her mother. At that time, no evidence of foul play was detected.

During the investigation, detectives learned Donna Kelly was romantically involved with Richard Allan Munnecke, who was married.

It was Diane who discovered her mother’s body on April 15, 2004. She was driving her mother’s car through Eaton Canyon County Park in Pasadena (unincorporated) and smelled a foul odor emanating from the trunk. She looked inside and found her mother’s decomposed body inside.

It was later learned the murder had occurred at Donna Kelly’s home and her body was moved to the trunk of her own vehicle, which sat in an apartment parking lot, unnoticed until Diane drove it.

Sheriff’s investigators collected DNA evidence from Donna Kelly’s body, her apartment and her vehicle, but there was no match in the database so the case went cold.

Eight years later, the same Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives, Elizabeth Smith and Richard Lopez revisited the case and gathered new information. They obtained a DNA sample from Munnecke and, thanks in part to a Federal grant to fund DNA testing for cold cases, were able to get test results.

Based upon the detectives’ findings, the evidence and the DNA match, a search warrant for Munnecke’s residence, located in the 800 block of North Almansor Street, Alhambra, was obtained and served on the morning of Wednesday, February 8, 2012.

Munnecke was arrested at his Alhambra home, pursuant to an arrest warrant, and booked at Temple Sheriff’s Station for Murder. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Investigators are asking that anyone who may have dated the suspect or who may have any information about this case to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call "Crime Stoppers" by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.

2.8.12

Police have arrested an Alhambra man for murdering in 2004 a woman and leaving her body in the trunk of her car, the Pasadena Star-News is reporting. 

Sheriff's Homicide Detective Beth Smith said DNA found on the victim led to Richard Allan Munnecke. He was booked on suspicion of murder at the sheriff's Temple station and will be arraigned Friday.

Investigators believed the married Munnecke and the victim, 58-year-old Donna Kelly, were seeing each other.

Read the full article. Detectives are asking anyone who may have seen anything unusual related to the case to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. 

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