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Report: DNA evidence links man under arrest to kidnap-murder of 5-year-old California girl
By Ryan Pearson, Associated Press, 7/20/02
Alejandro Avila of Lake Elsinore was arrested Friday following a tip.
The Times cited police sources it did not identify in reporting the DNA evidence Saturday. A source close to the investigation later told The Associated Press that the newspaper's report was correct, but would not elaborate.
Earlier Saturday, Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, would not specifically confirm or deny the report, but did say authorities have evidence linking Avila to the crime.
"We are 100 percent sure we have the right man based on circumstantial, physical and forensic evidence," Amormino said. "Forensic testing has confirmed our initial suspicion. DNA is a component of forensic testing."
Avila has denied involvement in the little girl's abduction and killing Monday, saying he was at a shopping mall at the time.
Avila's sister, Elvira, told the Orange County Register that he missed a family dinner that evening.
The sister also said Avila told his family that investigators found fibers under Samantha's fingernails. Investigators took clothing from Avila's apartment for testing.
In an interview with the Times before his arrest, Avila said detectives took a sample of his blood and photographed a scratch on his leg.
Authorities have said they believe the girl struggled with her killer.