Robert Dale Edwards

Robert Dale Edwards has been identified as the lead suspect in the February 27, 1973 rape and murder of 57-year-old Naomi Sanders in Vallejo, California. The case was cleared by exception, as Edwards died in 1993 of a drug overdose.

Sanders was strangled to death in a violent home invasion rape. She appeared to have been cooking dinner when she was attacked. In 2014, a DNA profile of the suspect was obtained from semen found on her clothing and entered into CODIS. Familial searching was also performed in 2016. The FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon Nanolabs.

There was another lead in the case. Police traveled to Louisiana and surreptitiously sampled his DNA, and he was eliminated as a suspect. Edwards was then the sole remaining suspect, but he had been cremated. The DNA match to Edwards was confirmed by comparison with a living child of his.

Edwards had a criminal history for violent offences. His father had been a co-worker of Sanders and so he may have known her.


Associated Press. “DNA Leads to Deceased Suspect in Decades-Old Rape, Killing.” ABC 10 News, February 28, 2020. Accessed December 13, 2020.

Cassidy, Megan. “DNA Leads to Deceased Suspect in Vallejo Woman’s 47-Year-Old Rape, Murder.” San Francisco Chronicle, February 27, 2020. Accessed December 13, 2020.

Luperon, Alberto. “‘Closure’: It’s Too Late to Charge the Alleged Killer, But Cops Say They Solved 1973 Murder.” Law & Crime, February 28, 2020. Accessed December 13, 2020.


First Name Robert Dale
Last Name Edwards
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2018-00-00
Case Cleared 2020-02-27
IGG Org Parabon


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1342 Naomi Sanders 57 1973-02-27 Vallejo, CA Vallejo PD Second degree murder Case was cleared by exception due to death of perpetrator 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.