The unsolved murder of a 27-year-old Palo Alto woman who was found in an Illinois cornfield 31 years ago could be reopened, pending the investigation of another decades-old murder, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
Illinois State Police and the FBI have reopened a 25-year-old case involving a 21-year-old student that they believe could link the suspect to the murdered Palo Alto woman, according to the news account.
Suspect Larry D. Hall, now 54, who is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison for kidnapping, is believed to be involved in a number of unsolved murders, including that of Eulalia Pholia Chavez, who was found strangled and mutilated nearly 3,000 miles away from Palo Alto. He once confessed to a reporter of murdering Chavez before recanting the story.
In January, tests from long-lost DNA revealed that Hall could not be excluded from the case, but weren't positively conclusive, either, according to the News-Democrat.
Chavez, who was known as "The Summerfield Woman" for more than 21 years after a farmer discovered her body in a cornfield on Sept. 6, 1986, was finally identified in January 2008 following an FBI fingerprint recheck.
Chavez grew up in Palo Alto, where she liked to draw and make jewelry and clothing, according to various news accounts from her daughter, whom Chavez gave up for adoption shortly after her birth in 1977. Chavez attended Foothill College in 1976 about a year before leaving home for good to roam the countryside.
Her mother told reporters that she did not see her daughter again after she left home in 1977.
Pali Alto police Capt. Zach Perron said the department handled a missing persons report on Chavez in the 1970s, but Palo Alto police have not been contacted by any law enforcement agencies about her case.
• Runaway teen identified as murdered (Feb. 5, 2008)