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.
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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/.
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