While both the victim and the wrongly accused are now deceased, Solano County prosecutors have identified and arrested a suspect in the 1987 kidnapping and murder of a six-year-old boy thanks to new DNA evidence.

A horrifying 36-year-old crime in Vallejo produced a suspect, yet one who beat two murder trials, and the crime had remained unsolved since. Six-year-old Jeremy Stoner disappeared on February 21, 1987, and days later, motorists on Sherman Island Road near Sacramento made the grisly discovery of Stoner’s naked, dead body, showing signs of sexual abuse, strangulation, and stabbing. SFGate recounts that security guard Shawn Melton approached police with what he said was evidence, but police instead suspected Melton was the killer.

As SFGate recounts, Melton passed a polygraph test, but police interrogators resorted to the unusual tactic of telling Melton he had split personalities. Melton eventually cracked under pressure and gave a false confession. But he beat the charges on not one but two trials, and the case has remained cold.

Until ten days ago. KTVU reports that DNA evidence has produced a new suspect, one very much still alive, and 69-year-old Fed Cain was arrested in Oregon on charges of killing they young Jeremy Stoner.

“On Monday, September 18, 2023, District Attorney investigators along with the assistance of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Suspect Fred Cain III at his home in Central Point, Oregon,” the Solano County DA’s office said in an announcement last week. “Cain waived extradition in Oregon and will be transferred to Solano County to face charges of Murder with special circumstance allegations of kidnapping and sodomy.”  

Per SFGate, Cain has also arrested for raping a 17-year-old at knifepoint in 1984, but a jury found him not guilty.

As for the wrongly accused security guard Shawn Melton, he died in 2000, and did not live to see his name cleared. But Solano County District Attorney Krisha Abrams said at a news conference last week that the new DNA evidence technology is “such an important tool because it can not only solve crimes, like we believe it solved this one, but it can also exonerate somebody who’s innocent."

Related: 1992 Cold Case Murder of Laurie Houts Once Again Left In Limbo as Longtime Suspect Is Cleared on Double-Jeopardy Grounds [SFist]