Ruben Smith

Ruben J. Smith was identified as the lead suspect in the rape and murders of two women in Orange County, California. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Smith.

23-year-old Shannon Rose Lloyd was killed in her bedroom in her apartment in Garden Grove on May 21, 1987. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death. The body of Renee Cuevas, 27, was found along the Lambert Road outside of the now-closed El Toro Marine Base in Orange County on February 19, 1989.

The cases were linked together in 2003, when DNA profiles were developed from crime scene DNA. The FGG investigation was conducted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Investigative Genetic Genealogy unit, beginning in 2021. There is currently no information on how the final confirmation was made.

Smith moved away from the Orange County area to Las Vegas, where he died by suicide in 1999. He was 39 years old. He had been charged in 1998 with the rape and attempted murder of a third woman, who managed to escape. She said, “The evil in him. I know if I didn’t fight, I was going to die… It was horrible. The things that he did, the things he said. He told me he was going to kill me.”


Cuniff, Meghann. “‘Justice Does Not Have an Expiration Date’: Las Vegas Man Who Killed Himself in 1999 Linked to 2 Cold Case Murders in California.” Law & Crime, July 25, 2022. Accessed July 29, 2022.

Orange County District Attorney. “Two Orange County Cold Case Murders Solved Through Multi-Agency Effort Using Investigative Genetic Genealogy.” Orange County District Attorney (Press Release), July 25, 2022. Accessed July 29, 2022.

Salahieh, Nouran. “A Suspect in the 1980s Killings of 2 California Women is Identified After DNA Match.” CNN, July 26, 2022. Accessed July 29, 2022.



First Name Ruben
Last Name Smith
Other Names
Victims 2 (Details)
IGG Started 2021-00-00
Case Cleared 2022-07-25
IGG Org Orange CO DA IGU


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1730 Shannon Lloyd 23 1987-05-21 Garden Grove, CA Garden Grove PD; Orange CSO Second degree murder Case was cleared by exception due to death of perpetrator n/a
1731 Renee Cuevas 27 1989-02-19 Orange CO, CA Garden Grove PD; Orange CSO 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.