Fresno Police are taking a new crack at a 20-year-old cold case, the brutal murder of 22-year-old Debbie Dorian.
No one was ever arrested. Now two decades later, the case’s original detectives are coming out of retirement to help and they’re doing it free of charge.
The mother of Debbie Dorian, Sara Loven described her daughter at a press conference “She was beautiful, she was funny, she was energetic and she was independent.”
But at 22 years old, the Fresno State student’s life was cut short. Debbie Dorian’s father discovered her body in 1996.
“Debbie was found brutally bound, gagged, raped and murdered inside her apartment,” Chief Jerry Dyer said.
DNA samples were recovered at the crime scene and police were able to match that DNA to evidence in 8 sexual assaults and kidnappings in Visalia from 1999 to 2002. At that time, DNA technology was in it’s infancy
and the DNA could never be directly linked to a suspect.
“Her life was brutally cut short by evil people who caused her much pain the person or persons who savagely raped my daughter are still free and continue to hurt women. They have evil in their hearts and need to be brought to justice,” Loven said.
Two former detectives, Vince Zavala and Bob Schiotis have come out of retirement to work the case. The pair are volunteering their time to conduct interviews and review DNA samples hoping to crack the case.
“There were many leads that due to change of directions within different departments we weren’t able to finish plus we have some people of interest in mind and we’re gonna pursue them. As time passes, loyalties dissolve, consciences develop and perhaps somebody who knows something will give us the information we need to put this puzzle together,” Zavala said.
Loven says she’s extremely grateful for the work detectives will do but also hopes people will come forward with new information.
“If you can think of anything that will give these detectives some help, any little thing, please call and let them know that because somebody out there must have seen something,” Loven said.
Police believe the sexual predator, who they say is Dorian’s killer, is a white man, 30 to 40 years old, 5 foot 6 to 6 feet tall, with a thin to medium build. During the sexual assaults, the suspect wore either a hooded sweatshirt, or a handkerchief over his lower face and carried a handgun.
A $57,000 reward is being offered to anyone with information leading to an arrest and are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP.