SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) - The stepfather of a Northern California woman killed more than three decades ago said the arrest of a suspected serial killer has given his family what he terms "a little closure."
Vernon Ashby told the Marin Independent Journal that Marin investigators told him last week that Joseph Naso had been arrested on suspicion of murdering Ashby's stepdaughter, Roxene Roggasch and three other women between 1977 and 1994.
Each victim had identical first and last initials.
The body of Roggasch, then 18, was found in rural Marin County on Jan. 10, 1977.
"It's a pretty big relief," Ashby, a retired Teamsters driver now living in Medford, Ore., told the newspaper Sunday. "We're starting to get a little closure that they've got somebody that did it."
Naso, 77, was being held without bail at the Marin County Jail. He has not entered a plea and is scheduled back in court April 27.
Investigators sought various leads surrounding Roggasch's death - including a prostitute's claim that Roggasch was kidnapped and tortured by their mutual pimp.
No charges were filed.
Naso was not among those leads, and he only became a suspect after a routine search of his Reno, Nev., home while on probation for a theft conviction last April. It sparked a yearlong investigation that led authorities to charge Naso with murdering four women.
The four victims - Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya - had identical first and last initials.
Authorities have released few details about the cases, which all involve women whose bodies were found in Northern California with little trace of their assailant.
Authorities are also trying to determine if the Naso is connected to notorious "Double Initial Murders" of three girls in upstate New York in the early 1970s.
The victims there were three young girls with alliterative names. And one of them also was named Carmen Colon.
Ashby, Roggasch's stepfather, told the Marin newspaper that the family had no clue Roggasch was involved in prostitution. She went to high school in San Jose, had a baby and went off to work for a traveling circus, Ashby said.
But authorities say she was abducted in Oakland and her body was found near Fairfax, Calif.
After her death, Vernon and Beverly Ashby adopted Roggasch's son, Shane Levi Ashby, who was a toddler at the time and now lives in Yreka, Calif.
Shane Ashby told KTVU-TV last week that he thanks the authorities for their persistence.
"I was only 2 when it happened," Ashby said. "I didn't believe they'd found him after 30 some years."
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