SEASIDE, Calif. (KION-TV) -- A suspect in the 1991 murder of a 34-year-old woman is dead, according to Seaside Police.
Vicki Johnson's body was found back in January 1991 by investigators at a park on Darwin Street and H Place in Seaside. Police said she was strangled and that her body was set on fire.
There were no leads on a suspect as there were no witnesses to the crime.
"She fought for her life. So the detectives were able to take her fingernail clippings, submit them off to a lab to see if there was any DNA left behind on her underneath her fingernails, which was there was a substantial amount of DNA," said Nick Borges, the police Chief for the Seaside Police Department.
The case went unsolved for more than 32 years until the state Department of Justice Crime Laboratory found a DNA match underneath Johnson's fingernails matching a man named Frank Lewis McClure.
McClure was 46 at the time of Johnson's murder and his DNA was in a national database for a previous felony conviction on an assault with a deadly weapon charge.
"It finally got solved after so many years and it makes us finally know that even after so many people are still looking into these cold cases," said Paulina Antonio who lives in front of the park where the victim was murded.
Police said McClure was not a suspect in the original investigation and a motive and relation (if any) to his victim remains unknown.
Seaside Police Chief Nick Borges said that in the final years of her life, Johnson suffered from a crack addiction.
Seaside Police urges anyone with additional information about Frank Lewis McClure or the murder of Vicki Johnson to please contact police. McClure passed away in 2021 at the age of 77.
"He has been to prison for assaults with deadly weapons and domestic violence against women but nothing that rose to the level that would alarm or alert us that this guy would be engaged with murder," Borges said. "He was pretty well known in the community, not so much as a great person, but his family was well known and everyone was fairly surprised."
According to the Seaside Police Department, there are over 30 cold cases that they are trying to solve, some dating to as far back as 1977.