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Who Is Arthur Rudy Martinez? New Details About How A 41-Year-Old Razor Solved A Cold Case

Photo: San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office
Who Is Arthur Rudy Martinez? New Details About How A 41-Year-Old Razor Solved A Cold Case

It's been more than 40 years since 30-year-old Jane Morton Antunez and 28-year-old Patricia Dwyer were brutally raped and murdered in California. Their cases have remained unsolved and very cold for several decades. Now, DNA evidence has finally linked these cases to a man who died of cancer in a Washington prison in 2014. DNA taken from a razor used by Arthur Rudy Martinez matches the DNA left at the scenes of Jane Morton and Patricia Dwyer's deaths in San Luis Obispo County, California. Who is Arthur Rudy Martinez?

1. The murders

The deaths occurred in 1977 and 1978. Jane Morton Antunez was on her way to her best friend's house in November 1977. She never arrived. She was found the next day in the back seat of her car on a dirt road with her throat slit. A witness saw a man around her car around the time of the murder and helped the police create a composite sketch of the suspect. In January 1978, Patricia Dwyer was found stabbed to death in her home. She reportedly would never have let a stranger into her home, but she did keep a key under the mat. Both women were sexually assaulted and were found with their arms bound behind their backs. They had mutual acquaintances and frequented the Tally Ho bar, but the two women did not know each other. 

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2. The link between the women and the murderer

At the time of Jane Morton and Patricia Dwyer's murders, Arthur Rudy Martinez was out on parole for attempted murder and rape. He was in the San Luis Obispo area working at a welding shop. Since he was out on parole, investigators at the time considered him a suspect. However, no evidence linked him to the crime. Soon after Dwyer's murder, Martinez moved to Spokane, Washington. He remained there until he was sentenced to life in prision for two rapes and several robberies. 

3. His escape from prison

Arthur Rudy Martinez escaped from prison after 16 years and moved back to California where he lived under an alias in the Fresno area for the next 20 years. In 2014, he turned himself in after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. His motivation? The free medical treatment he'd receive in prison. He was sent back to Washington. He died about two months later at the age of 65.

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4. The case was reopened...and solved

Two years after Martinez died, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office reopned the cold case investigations into the murders of Jane Morton and Patricia Dwyer. Investigators worked with the DNA lab at the Department of Justice to search for a DNA match in the case. Back in the 2005, they discovered that DNA collected from the 1977 and 1978 crime scenes revealed both women were killed by the same person. They just had to figure out who that person was. They found an inmate serving time that turned out to be related to Martinez. Police then reached out to an old girlfriend of Martinez's from 2014 when he was on the lam from prison and were able to get a DNA sample from an old razor she still had. A witness to Morton's 1977 murder who helped put together the original composite sketch then identified Martinez. 

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.