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 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 there 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, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said.
On March 30, 1993, Herrera’s body was found on the eastbound Hayfield Road onramp to I-10 in the Desert Center area of Riverside County. She was last seen alive just a few days before her body was found.
Thomas had traveled extensively throughout the United States during his more than 40 years as a truck driver, according to authorities.
He was only tied to the 1992 Texas killing after authorities found a DNA match to evidence from the crime scene.
Investigators with a Riverside County cold case team then found that Thomas’s DNA was also connected to evidence gathered during the investigation into Herrera’s murder, officials said.
Riverside County investigators traveled to Texas and interviewed Thomas about Herrera’s killing.
Based on their investigation, the DA’s Office charged Thomas with murder, along with a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a rape.
Thomas will first be prosecuted in Texas for the 1992 killing, and then the DA’s Office in Riverside County will request his extradition to California to face prosecution for Herrera’s killing.
Authorities are asking that 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.