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DNA Evidence Helps Police Arrest Suspect In 1988 Land Park Murder

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Nick Janes Nick Janes
Nick Janes joined KOVR/KMAX in December 2008 as a reporter. Nick...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A cold case murder has been cracked more than 20 years after a man was found stabbed to death in Land Park.

Investigators say blood left behind helped crack the case, and linked the suspect to the crime.

Manuel Morales was last seen dropping off friends from a fashion show.

“I could not figure out what happened; I never could,” said Coco, Morales’ best friend.

The unsolved murder of Morales tormented Coco for nearly 25 years. She’s painstakingly gone over every detail, every last memory, haunted by Morales’ strange mood the last night she saw him alive on October 18, 1988.

“Finally, I said, ‘Manny are you OK?’ And he kinda took him a minute and he said ‘no, I’m not,’ ” said Coco.

She never got the chance to ask why. The next morning, homicide detectives discovered Morales’ body wrapped in a sheet in a Land Park gutter. Morales had been stabbed multiple times.

Decades passed without a single arrest being made.

“I’ve gone over it and over it in my head,” said Coco.

Now, Sacramento police say they finally have their suspect: Stanley Grow.

Police say they matched his DNA with that found at the murder scene.

Grow was arrested as he was leaving his North Highlands apartment. The elderly manager at the apartment says he’s like a son to her. And Grow’s upstairs neighbor was shocked at the murderous secret Grow allegedly hid for a quarter century.

“Nothing like that made me think he could commit something like that. He was a cool cat,” neighbor Troy Blast said.

Coco didn’t recognize Grow from his mug shot — a stranger to her, who police say took someone she loved dearly.

“I don’t really have words other than if that’s who did it, I hope justice is done because, Manny deserves it,” said Coco.

According to court records, Grow has an extensive criminal history, including robbery and drug charges.

Police say they still have not yet established a motive.

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