Horace Van Vaultz

Horace Van Vaultz Jr. was arrested on November 15, 2019 and charged in the June 9, 1986 rape and murder of 22-year-old Mary Duggan in Burbank, California as well as the July 16, 1981 rape and murder of 20-year-old Selena Keough in San Bernardino County, California. Keough had been sexually assaulted, bound, and strangled. She died of asphyxia from having tissues stuffed down her throat. Her body had been left under some bushes in Montclair.

Duggan had also been sexually assaulted. Her body was found in the trunk of her car off the 5 Freeway in Burbank. A DNA profile was developed from material left on her body in 2006. This was uploaded into law enforcement databases. It provided no hit to a suspect but did match an earlier DNA profile developed from the murder of Selena Keough.

There is no information on who conducted the FGG investigation. The initial confirmation was made through police surveillance followed by the surreptitious sampling of items that Van Vaultz had discarded in his trash.

Van Vaultz previously pled no contest to raping a choking a 22-year-old woman in 1984. In 1988 he was acquitted of the sexual assault and murder of Janna Rowe who was killed on Christmas in 1986. He also has a misdemeanor criminal record for spousal assault in 2005 and again in 2007. He is suspected of further offences, but no new charges have yet been laid.

The case against Van Vaultz proceeded in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Van Vaultz was convicted by a jury on two counts of first-degree murder on August 19, 2022. This was the first conviction in LA County using FGG.

Van Vaultz’s defence was that he had consensual sex with the victims, but that both women were shortly thereafter murdered by a different person. All three victims had been restrained and then strangled in ways that were very similar.

Van Vaultz was sentenced on September 19, 2022, by the Ventura County Superior Court to two terms of life in prison, to be served consecutively and without the possibility of parole.


City News Service. “DNA Links Man to Cold Case Murders of 2 Women.” NBC Los Angeles, November 15, 2019. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/national-international/dna-links-man-to-old-murders/2193472/.

Gilman, Greg. “Bakersfield Man Gets Two Life Sentences for 1980s Serial Killings.” Los Angeles Magazine, September 20, 2022. Accessed October 5, 2022. https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/bakersfield-man-get-two-life-sentences-for-1980s-serial-killings/.

Kalmbacher, Colin. “Self-Described ‘Swinger’ Convicted of Two Cold Case Rapes and Murders Decades After Being Acquitted of Killing a Third Woman.” Law & Crime, August 19, 2022. Accessed August 25, 2022. https://lawandcrime.com/crime/self-described-swinger-convicted-of-two-cold-case-rapes-and-murders-decades-after-being-acquitted-of-killing-a-third-woman/.

Leonard, Eric. “Mystery Photos Found at Accused Serial Killer’s Home.” NBC Los Angeles, March 5, 2020. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/mystery-photos-found-at-accused-serial-killers-home-horace-van-vaultz/2323819/.

Morley, Veronica. “Bakersfield Man to Stand Trial for 1980s Killings in LA County’s First Genetic Genealogy Case.” ABC News 23 Bakersfield, April 7, 2021. Last modified April 8, 2021. Accessed December 28, 2021. https://www.turnto23.com/news/crime/bakersfield-man-to-stand-trial-for-1980-killings-in-la-countys-first-genetic-genealogy-case.

Queally, James. “L.A. Prosecutors Use Genealogy Search to Make Arrest in 1980s Killings of Two Women.” Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2019. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-11-15/cold-case-murders-genealogy-search.


First Name Horace
Last Name Van Vaultz
Other Names
Victims 2 (Details)
IGG Started nd
Case Cleared 2019-11-15
IGG Org nd


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1301 Selena Keough 20 1981-07-16 San Bernardino CO, CA Burbank PD First degree murder Accused was convicted after a trial Ventura SUP CT
1300 Mary Duggan 22 1986-06-09 Burbank, CA Burbank PD First degree murder Accused was convicted after a trial Ventura SUP CT

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.