Atlanta/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 23, 2024
Gainesville Man Arrested for 1988 Santa Maria Cold Case Murder, Further Victims SuspectedSource: Unsplash/ niu niu

A Gainesville man was nabbed for the decades-old slaying of a California woman, according to law enforcement officials. Aloysius Winthrop James, 57, originally from Santa Maria, was arrested at his Georgia home on April 16 in connection with the murder of 30-year-old Ofelia Sandoval in 1988, as detailed in reports from FOX 5 Atlanta and WSB-TV.

After the cold case heated up through years of perseverance by detectives, James, who was residing at the time of the murder in Santa Maria, found himself behind bars without bond in the Hall County Jail. Sandoval's life was tragically cut short at the Town Center Motel on September 18, 1988, with the case going unsolved for over three decades before detectives secured an arrest warrant for James.

A multi-agency effort led to the arrest of James, with the Santa Maria Police Department detectives receiving backup from the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Offices, Gainesville Police, the local SWAT team, and the FBI Task Force of Gainesville. Now, detectives are involved in negotiating the extradition process to have James returned to Santa Barbara County to face charges, as further details morph into the public view.

Law enforcement believes that the shadow of James' past may conceal further unreported crimes, with suspicions stretching to threats, sexual assault, domestic abuse, and other offenses. Victims and those withholding additional information are encouraged to contact Detective Nate Craven of the Santa Maria Police Department, so indicated Santa Maria Police Department Detective Bureau that took over the longstanding search for justice.

Anyone with information about James' possible involvement in other violent or sexual crimes is urged to step forward and can confidentially contact Detective Nate Craven at (805) 928-3781 ext. 1610 or drop an email to [email protected].