Genetic Genealogy Leads to Arrest in Cold Case Sword-Killing of San Diego-Area Man

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For more than 12 years, police searched for a killer, one who ambushed and repeatedly plunged a sword into a La Mesa man, likely as soon as the victim walked into his own apartment.

Police found blood from an unknown source — possibly from the killer — at the scene. But leads in the June 2006 slaying of Scott Martinez ran dry. Searches of DNA crime databases yielded no matches.

Then last fall, armed with crime-scene DNA data, a team of four genetic genealogists working with Parabon NanoLabs took on the case. It took about a weekend of digging for them to come up with the name of a suspect: Zachary Bunney.

On Thursday, La Mesa police announced they had arrested 39-year-old Bunney in the death of 47-year-old Martinez. They did not discuss a motive and declined to go into detail about the investigation. Bunney has not yet been arraigned in El Cajon Superior Court.

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