Santa Barbara County sheriff's detectives are chasing a new lead in a 32-year-old double homicide investigation and are asking for the public's help.
Investigators believe the lead — traces of paint found at several crime scenes — may help solve a 1981 Goleta double murder linked to a serial killer known as the "Original Night Stalker," Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Saturday.
The suspect may have worked on a Calle Real construction site, "possibly as a painter," she said.
Cheri Domingo, 35, and Gregory Sanchez, 27, were killed July 26, 1981, while house-sitting a residence in the 400 block of Toltec Way north of Berkeley Road in Goleta.
The killings followed another double murder 18 months before not far from the Toltec house. In the earlier case, Dr. Robert Offerman, 44, and Alexandria Manning, 35, were found dead in their condominium on Dec. 30, 1979. At the time, the four killings were suspected to be the work of the same suspect.
In 2011, sheriff's investigators and the state Department of Justice DNA laboratory were able to use brand-new technology to identify previously unknown DNA evidence from the Domingo-Sanchez homicides.
The same DNA profile has been linked to numerous Northern California rapes, including ones committed in southern Sacramento County in the late 1970s, and to the Original Night Stalker, who was responsible for multiple murders in Ventura and Orange counties in the 1980s.
Although a DNA profile exists for the suspect, his identity remains unknown. Another notorious serial killer was known as the Night Stalker during a murderous two-year crime spree that terrorized California before his 1985 capture.
The two suspects are not the same, however, and the second killer, Richard Ramirez, was convicted in 1989 and died on Death Row earlier this year.
"Sheriff’s investigators have reviewed the crime reports from other agencies and discovered that traces of paint were located in two of the rapes and one of the homicide scenes in Irvine," Hoover said. "This evidence is believed to have come from the suspect in all three cases.
"Investigators are now exploring the possibility that the suspect may have come to the area to work on a construction site, possibly as a painter."
Hoover said investigators have discovered that a section of the Calle Real Shopping Center — 5801 Calle Real and the then-Longs Drugs at 5875 Calle Real — initially had a building permit issued to a Sacramento-area developer in early 1979.
She said the final stages of the construction project, which would have included painting the buildings, occurred during the same time frame as the 1979 Offerman-Manning murders.
Anyone who knows someone who either worked on the Calle Real construction site or has any information about employees who worked on the project is encouraged to call the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Bureau at 805.681.4150 or the Anonymous Tip Line at 805.681.4171.