Family Relieved After Arrest Made in 51-Year-Old Murder Case

Forensic genealogy led to an arrest in a rape and homicide case from 1969

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The family of a young San Diego mother who was found raped and killed in her City Heights apartment 51 years ago hopes the recent arrest of a suspect in Pennsylvania will put an end to the decades-old cold case.

Modern DNA technology led investigators to a man -- John Sipos, now 75 years old -- who they say is responsible for the death of Mary Scott, who was 23 years old at the time she was killed. 

On November 20, 1969, Scott failed to show up to her job at a club just blocks away from her home.

When a friend went to check on her, she found Scott laying in the middle of her living room, nude and unconscious. Scott's apartment had also been flipped upside down, according to investigators.

Scott's sister Rosalie Sanz, who was only 16 at the time, remembers the night her family received the news.

“It was night and the doorbell rang, which was odd," Sanz said. “There were two men wearing suits at the door and I thought this can't be good.”

“I came out of my bedroom and I asked what happened and she [my mom] said ‘Mary was raped and strangled,” added Sanz.

Sanz is now 67 years old, and she hasn't stopped fighting to bring justice to her sister and the two daughters she left behind. 

“I kept reading the last couple years about when they used ancestral or genetic forensics and they were finding these old cold cases and solving them, so I thought they could probably do that with my sister because I know they had DNA,” said Sanz.

Last November, on the 50th anniversary of her sister's death, Sanz reached out once again to SDPD for help finding Scott's killer. 

Last weekend, almost a year later, she received the news she had been waiting for.

“Up until that point I guess I didn’t really believe it could happen,” said Sanz.

Police told Sanz Saturday morning they arrested Sipos at his Pennsylvania home on suspicion of murder in Scott's killing.

"I'm just really excited,” said Sanz. “I know I shouldn't be happy, but I am. I'm really happy."

Sanz said she hopes the arrest is a step toward justice.

“He just went on to live a normal life and have a family,” said Sanz. “All the things he took from her, he got to have. He got to have a family and grow old and she didn’t get to have any of that.”

Sanz said she was told that Sipos was living in San Diego and had just left the Navy when her sister was killed. 

Sipos is awaiting extradition to San Diego. 

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