Widow of man accused in cold case talks to CBS News 8 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Widow of man accused in cold case talks to CBS News 8

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  • Police identify 2 suspects in 30-year-old murder

    Police identify 2 suspects in 30-year-old murder

    Friday, October 24 2014 9:02 AM EDT2014-10-24 13:02:43 GMT
    A one-time San Diego police civilian employee who died in an apparent suicide in the East County highlands this week was due to be arrested on suspicion of taking part in the gruesome murder of a teenage girl 30 years ago, authorities reported Thursday. 
    A one-time San Diego police civilian employee who died in an apparent suicide in the East County highlands this week was due to be arrested on suspicion of taking part in the gruesome murder of a teenage girl 30 years ago, authorities reported Thursday. 

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego police say they've solved a cold case murder that dates back 30 years, but his widow says they've accused the wrong man.

Police identified a former civilian criminalist who worked for the SDPD as one of two key suspects in the 1984 murder of 14-year-old Claire Hough.

"The police are railroading my husband. They want to close this and say good, we've solved a crime," Rebecca Brown said.

Although cold case detectives say they've solved a 30-year old murder mystery, Rebecca Brown, the widow of one of the suspects, disagrees.

"He was not anybody evil, and the girl's father thinks the killer has been brought to justice now. He needs to know, I'm sorry, it's not true," she said.

In 1984, Claire Hough was strangled to death at Torrey Pines State Beach. Her father Sam Hough lives in Rhode Island...

"It's something of a surprise. We thought we knew who had done it, and it turns out we were wrong," he said.

Although the case remained unsolved for decades, San Diego police say new DNA technology lead them to two killers.

"Those suspects were identified as Ronald Tatro and Kevin Brown," SDPD Capt. Al Guaderrama said.

Ronald Tatro was a career criminal who died in a boating accident in 2011. Kevin Brown had no criminal history.

"Kevin Brown previously worked for the police department as a criminalist from 1982 to 2002, when he retired," Guaderrama said.

Police say they were days away from arresting Brown when he committed suicide earlier this week.

"We do believe we caught the two suspects that responsible for the murder of Claire Hough," Guaderrama said.

Although police may feel a guilty man took the easy way out, his widow says police harassed her husband until he snapped.

"They've had everything they wanted from my house for a year, and I kept saying, when are you going to give everything back? You should have enough either to arrest him, or let it go," she said. "And they did nothing, did nothing, did nothing, and as soon as they push him to suicide they go oh, it's solved. And's he is not the man who did that."

Rebecca Brown says it's obvious to her that her husband's DNA cross-contaminated evidence in the crime lab.

"That's why they never arrested him. They didn't want to take it to court," she said. "They never arrested him because I said take it court, we'll be able to prove his innocence. I was going, bring it on so we can prove that you don't have a case, it's nothing. Then he would have been done and he would have been free."

San Diego police would not say if Ronald Tatro and Kevin Brown knew each other, only that DNA from both men were found on the victim's body.

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