Douglas Thomas

Douglas Thomas, 67, was arrested on May 25, 2022 for the April 1992 murder of Shenda Denise Hayes in Mount Pleasant, Texas.

Hayes’ body was found near a rest area on the Interstate-30 outside of Mount Pleasant. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled with a device made of wire and cord.

A DNA sample from a SAK taken at Hayes’ autopsy was uploaded to CODIS in 2004. It was match to a similar homicide that took place on March 30, 1993 in Desert Center, California. The body of Sherri Herrera was found along the Interstate-10 Highway in the desert between Palm Springs and Arizona. She, too, was sexually assaulted and had been strangled to death with a belt. Both women were engaged in sex work at the time they were murdered.

DNA taken at the scene of Herrera’s murder had been uploaded to CODIS in 2002, and a SNP profile suitable for FGG was developed in September of 2020. There is no information on who performed the FGG investigation. The final confirmation was made after a warrant was issued to take a DNA sample from Thomas for comparison.

Thomas is a retired long-haul truck driver from Waco, Texas. He is currently being held on $2 million bail in Titus County, Texas.

On June 13, 2022, Thomas was also charged in the murder of Herrera, with a special circumstance of committing a murder during a rape. He will first be prosecuted in Texas, and will then be extradited to California.


McMillan, Rob. “How Riverside County Investigators Played a Role in Possibly Solving Decades-Old Murder Case.” ABC News 7, June 1, 2022. Accessed June 3, 2022.

Riverside District Attorney. “In Last Two Months, Man Charged with Cold Case Murders in Texas and California.” Forensic Magazine, June 13, 2022. Accessed June 17, 2022.

Witherspoon, Tommy. “DNA Database Links Retired Waco Man to Murders of Sex Workers in Texas and California Dating Back 30 Years.” ABC News 7, May 26, 2022. Accessed June 3, 2022.


First Name Douglas
Last Name Thomas
Other Names
Victims 2 (Details)
IGG Started 2020-09-00
Case Cleared 2022-05-25
IGG Org nd


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1703 Shenda Hayes nd 1992-03-31 Mount Pleasant, TX Texas Rangers CCU Second degree murder Case is currently pending before the court Titus CO CT
1704 Sherri Herrera nd 1993-03-30 Desert Center, CA Riverside CSO Second degree murder Case is currently pending before the court n/a

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.