HomeCrimeMan arrested in cold case murder of 5 y.o. Anne Pham

Man arrested in cold case murder of 5 y.o. Anne Pham

After 40 years of searching, investigators have arrested a 70-year-old Nevada man and charged him with the murder of 5-year-old Anne Pham.

On Jan. 21, 1982, Pham disappeared while walking to her kindergarten class at Highland Elementary School in Seaside, California. She was found dead two days later at an old U.S. Army post formerly known as Fort Ord, CBS News Bay Area reports.

Pham was the youngest of ten siblings. That morning she had convinced her mother to let her walk to school alone.

“Normally she walked to school with her mom but on this particular day it was raining, and she convinced her mom and older brother she wanted to walk to school herself,” Seaside Police Chief Nicholas Borges told PEOPLE.

Forty years later, authorities arrested Robert John Lanoue, a former Fort Ord soldier from Nevada, on July 7. He is currently being held in Nevada, KION 546 reports.

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office reopened Pham’s case in 2020 and collaborated with the Seaside police to examine evidence through a new type of DNA testing, CBS News Bay Area reports. The testing led them to Lanoue who was 29 and living a block and a half away from Pham at the time of the murder.

According to PEOPLE, Lanoue is charged with one count of first-degree murder, with special circumstance allegations that he killed Anne while committing kidnapping and a lewd act on a child under the age of 14.

“We are thrilled that we have the suspect identified, we have charged him as the defendant, and we intend to prosecute the case fully,” Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni told KION 546.

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