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Fugitive Suspect In 1984 Florida Killing Arrested 39 Years Later In California

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A man wanted in the 1984 killing of a Florida woman has been arrested in California nearly four decades later, authorities said Thursday.

Detectives from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were traveling to San Diego County to interview Donald Michael Santini, who was being held in jail following his arrest Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Santini had been on the run since June 1984, when Florida authorities obtained an arrest warrant linking him to the strangling death of 33-year-old Cynthia Ruth Wood of Bradenton, located south of Tampa.

Wood’s body was found in a watery ditch three days after she went missing on June 6 of that year.

The arrest warrant said a medical examiner determined she had been strangled and Santini’s fingerprints were found on her body, WFTS-TV reported.

“We are aware of this arrest and have sent detectives to interview Santini, while we await extradition,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “This arrest allows us to reexamine evidence collected in 1984 using the technology of today, as the case is now considered open once again.”

Online jail records said Santini, 65, was arrested as a fugitive.

He was scheduled to appear in court in San Diego County on Friday.

Records had no listing of an attorney for Santini who could speak on his behalf.

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