Suspect Arrested in Decade-Old Murder

Council Bluffs Police have arrested a La Vista man in connection with a 2003 murder. Thomas J. Sanchez, 47, is accused of killing 32-year-old Selena Alvarez-Hernandez of Omaha.

The victim was born with the name Nelson, but known as Selena. Selena was stabbed to death outside of a residence in the 1600 block of South 13th Street in Council Bluffs on July 31, 2003.

Police say that at the time of the incident they were told of a loud altercation. Someone was yelling for help. Witnesses told authorities that they saw several people near the victim and that crowd fled before police arrived.

Several pieces of evidence were collected from the scene and a DNA profile was developed from one item of evidence belonging to an unknown male. That profile was compared to all DNA profiles in Iowa's Forensic Casework and Convicted Offender Indices, but investigators came up empty. The case went cold.

Four months ago, in late September of 2013, the Council Bluffs Police Department was notified by the Iowa DCI lab that the previously unknown DNA profile had been positively identified and it pointed to Thomas Sanchez.

Based on the new evidence, the case was re-opened by the Council Bluffs Police Department Criminal Investigation Division.

Sanchez was located and an arrest warrant was issued for First-Degree Murder.

Authorities took him into custody and he's being held in the Pottawattaime County Jail on $1 million bond.

Police say the investigation is ongoing.


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