Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

A suspect is behind bars on the East Coast on suspicion of murdering a San Diego serviceman more than 44 years ago in the victim’s Park West-area home.

Dennis Lepage, 62, was arrested Friday in Troy, New York, in connection with the slaying of 28-year-old Alvaro Espeleta, according to San Diego police.

On Dec. 31, 1975, Espeleta, a naval dental technician assigned to Marine Corp Recruit Depot, was found dead in his home in the 3200 block of Reynard Way by co-workers checking on him after he failed to show up for work.

“The San Diego police Homicide Unit investigated the case, but eventually all investigative leads at that time were exhausted,” Lt. Matt Dobbs said.

Eventually, however, investigators with the SDPD Cold Case Unit, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service identified Lepage as Espeleta’s alleged killer by comparing the original case evidence against “emerging forensic sciences and technology,” Dobbs said.

The lieutenant declined to disclose details about those evidentiary findings, the relationship between Espeleta and Lepage, if any, or the victim’s cause of death.

Lepage remains in New York pending extradition to San Diego to stand trial in the case.

— City News Service

Show comments