Joseph Holt has been identified as the lead suspect in two murders that took place in El Dorado, California in the late 1970s. The cases were cleared by exception as Holt passed away in 2014.
27-year-old Brynn Rainey disappeared on the night of July 23, 1977 while on her way to work an overnight shift at a casino in Tahoe. Her body was found about a month later by horseback riders from a local stable. She was thought to have been sexually assaulted and strangled, and she was buried in a shallow grave. DNA was recovered from blood stains on Rainey’s shirt.
16-year-old Carol Anderson was last seen leaving a house party on the night of July 1, 1979. She may have hitched a ride home with a stranger. She was found the next morning on a local trail. She had been bound, strangled and sexually assaulted. DNA was recovered from her body.
The FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon Nanolabs. Their investigation narrowed the list of suspects down to Holt or one of his two brothers, all of whom were now deceased. Holt was a graduate of UC Berkeley who had worked in real estate in Tahoe and he lived in the area where their bodies were found. The confirmation was made with the assistance of Holt’s son, who provided his own DNA and a toothbrush belonging to his father.
Dowd, Kaite. “Two Women Were Strangled in Tahoe in the 1970s. Investigators Finally Think They Know Who Did It.” SFGate, February 25, 2019, last modified February 26, 2019. Accessed December 23, 2020. https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/brynn-rainey-carol-andersen-joseph-holt-cold-case-13644208.php#photo-15181957.
El Dorado County District Attorney, and KTVN News. “Timeline Photos of Suspect in South Lake Tahoe Cold Case Released.” KTVN News, February 26, 2019, last modified June 10, 2019. Accessed December 23, 2020. https://www.ktvn.com/story/40031036/el-dorado-county-da-names-suspect-in-decades-old-murder-cases.
Fedschun, Travis. “California Cold Case Killings Linked by DNA to Suspect Who Was ‘Never on the Radar’ of Police.” Fox News, February 27, 2019. Accessed December 23, 2020. https://www.foxnews.com/us/2-cold-case-killings-in-california-linked-to-suspect-through-dna-who-was-never-on-the-radar-of-police.
McGough, Michael. “Two 1970s South Lake Tahoe Homicides Solved by DNA Breakthrough, El Dorado County DA Says.” Sacramento Bee, February 25, 2019. Accessed December 23, 2020. https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article226747699.html.
Peterson, Paula. “Two South Lake Tahoe Cold Cases Solved with Genetic Genealogy.” South Tahoe Now, February 25, 2019. Accessed December 23, 2020. http://southtahoenow.com/story/02/25/2019/two-south-lake-tahoe-cold-cases-solved-genetic-genealogy.