YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) – Deputies made an arrest in a 43-year-old cold case for the murders of a 12 and 13-year-old girl.
Investigators said they matched DNA belonging to cousins from 1973 in Olivehurst.
Families of 12-year-old Valerie Lane and 13-year-old Doris Derryberry met with the Yuba County Sheriff investigators Tuesday morning to hear the news.
“Ecstatic, just overwhelmed it’s really a shocker,” said Amber Van Tassel, who said her family was too in shock to comment further.
Within the tight-knit community of Olivehurst, the murders of Valerie and Doris took a toll on everyone.
“You don’t forget something like that when it’s someone that you cared about,” said Bonnie Metcalf, who grew up alongside Valerie.
She has since moved to Redding, but said that day is etched into her memory.
They were all hanging out at the mall in Linda, which she said back in the 70s was a happening place.
“I keep seeing them walking away in the rain and to hitchhike was nothing back then. It was safe to hitchhike,” she said.
That would be the last time Bonnie would see her friend.
Deputies found the girls’ bodies a few miles away. They had been shot execution style.
Three years into the investigation, the case went cold, throwing the community into turmoil.
“There was so much speculation back then that it was someone in the community,” Bonnie said.
And it turns out they were right. DNA evidence allegedly puts two men at the scene of the crime.
“They were then able to put it into the system to see if there was a match and indeed we have a match,” an investigator said.
Officers arrested Larry Patterson and William Harbour. Investigators said the men were 22 years old at the time and are charged with rape and Murder.
While this is only the beginning to an end, family says this will finally bring closure to decades of emotional torture.
“Four years ago my grandpa had passed and now I wish she was really here to enjoy this moment as well,” Van Tassel said.
Harbour was arrested just up the road from where the girls were last seen. His cousin Patterson was arrested in Oklahoma. He’ll be arraigned in Yuba County Wednesday.
Investigators said Patterson was convicted of two rape charges in Chico and did hard time. No word yet if he will be extradited back to California to face charges.