The Texas Rangers have made an arrest in a 42-year-old cold case. On April 13, 2023, the Rangers arrested 68-year-old Larry Allen West for the murder of 18-year-old Carol Joyce Deleon.
He was taken into custody at his residence in San Antonio. West was linked to the killing through new evidence in the case that was subjected to Advanced DNA testing under the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program which is funded by the Department of Justice/ Bureau of Justice Assistance (DOJ/BJA).
Back on June 4, 1981, the unidentified partially nude body of a teenage female was found along IH-35 in southern Comal County. The autopsy determined the victim died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Investigators attempted to identify her using fingerprints and a composite sketch that was released to local media; however, the efforts were unsuccessful, and she was eventually buried as a Jane Doe.
In May 2008, the Texas Ranger’s Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program (UCIP) reviewed the case file. From researching missing persons reports, only one missing person similar to the description of the victim from the 1981-time frame was found. Deleon had only been reported missing to the San Antonio Police Department in 2007. The report was made by a family member 26 years after the last time they had heard from her.
Texas Rangers met with her family and provided a photo of the Jane Doe. They recognized her and further family DNA testing confirmed her identity, 27 years after being labeled a Jane Doe.
Deleon was found to have resided in the West Avenue area of San Antonio and had graduated from Thomas Edison High School on May 28, 1981, just days prior to her death. The family had attempted to file a missing person report back in 1981, but because she was 18 and no foul play was noted at the time, a report was not taken. Deleon had also told the family she would be moving away once she turned 18 and the family had assumed she had followed through. However, after years of not hearing from her, Deleon’s youngest sister decided to file the missing persons report in 2007.
The Texas Rangers continued pursuing the case with forensic DNA advancements and in 2010 an unknown DNA profile was developed and entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). At that time, no matches were found, and the case once again stalled due to the lack of leads caused by the 27-year time frame.
In 2020, evidence in the case was subjected to Advanced DNA testing under DPS’ SAKI program which is funded by the DOJ/BJA. DOJ/BJA provide investigative funding for agencies across the United States to further unsolved sexual assaults and sexually related homicides with the hope of bringing justice to the victims and their families. SAKI grant funds were utilized for the cost of the Advanced DNA testing and genealogy research through Bode Technologies. The testing led to the identity of Larry A. West which was confirmed through normal forensic DNA testing.
West was arrested and booked into the Bexar County Jail on a $125,000 bond. An indictment and trial are now pending.