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1976 Double-Slaying Case Remains Open

For more than three decades, the shooting murders of an elderly Napa couple have remained a mystery. But cold-case detectives believe old evidence may reveal new clues.

First in a series on individual cold-case homicide investigations in Napa County.

On Feb. 15, 1976, the bodies of were found by relatives in the living room of their home in the 1100 block of Monticello Road. The husband and wife, both 72, had been dead for several days.

Although it has been close to 40 years since the couple were shot to death, Napa investigators are still working to bring the killer or killers to justice.

The has recently submitted old evidence in the Maddux case to the state Department of Justice for new testing, according to Detective Chris Carlisle, who is in charge of the cold case unit.

“The advancement of criminal investigation technology, especially DNA, gives us the opportunity to solve some of the cold cases,” Carlisle said.

But "it can take months to get the results back," added Pat McMahon, the lead investigator on the Maddux case.

Old evidence could identify a killer

The Maddux double slaying is among  the unit believe have the greatest potential, out of Napa County's , of being resolved.

Evidence collected at the murder scene, including fingerprints and any items that may contain DNA samples, could turn up a match with a known criminal whose identifying genetic information exists in a law enforcement database.

That’s how detectives were able to finally solve one of the county’s most notorious cold cases, the at in downtown Napa: After a 2009 DNA match connected him with a cigarette butt found at the bar, Colorado prison inmate  last year for killing Andrews.

Some details remain secret

Because the Maddux investigation remains open, Carlisle said, certain details about the double homicide have never been made public, including how many times the elderly victims were shot, in which part of their bodies, if they were bound and gagged and whether they put up a struggle.

No murder weapon has ever been found, ruling out a murder-suicide, Carlisle said.

“We believe they were killed at the scene,” he added.

There were no signs of forced entry to the home, suggesting the possibility that the victims may have known their killers.

“Robbery could be a possible motive for the murders, but we don’t know if the killer staged it to look like a robbery,” Carlisle said.

According to police reports, no prior threats had been made to Faye or Alvin Maddux, nor did either have any history of criminal activity.

“They were not known to law enforcement,” Carlisle said.

Lead investigator McMahon said there are no identifiable suspects in the killings.

“At the time of the murders, neighbors reported hearing what they thought might have been suspicious activity in the area. However, all the leads were checked out by investigators and (they) determined none of the reports were related to the homicides,” McMahon said. 

Firearms belonging to the couple were found inside the home, but “we have ruled out the possibility of any of them being the murder weapon,” McMahon said.

The Maddux house itself is no longer there: “I don’t know if it was torn down or remodeled,” McMahon said.

McMahon said investigators have been in touch with the victims’ family members.

“Not so much to question them, but to keep them up to date on the new developments,” he said.

“We don’t want them reading it in the newspapers.”

Napa County’s cold case investigation unit is made up of seven detectives from the sheriff’s and city police departments. The unit is funded by a $500,000 federal grant.

Dan Monez March 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Nice work, Marsha. It is so refreshing to read an article in a local media source that is complete and thorough, (unlike what we get from the local daily paper). I am so glad we have the Patch to read. Way to go Louisa!
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) March 16, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Aw shucks, thank you Dan! We are so lucky to have Marsha as a contributor. In fact, I'm going to ask her to write a profile about you, so readers can catch up on some of the amazing things you have been doing since retiring as police chief. So, don't be surprised when she calls you. And thanks again for being Patchy!
Marsha Dorgan March 16, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Thanks Dan. I really love writing, and I so looking forward to doing a profile on you. See you soon.
Mike Treleven March 17, 2012 at 12:26 AM
What a story delving back in time. It shows that law enforcement keeps going after many people have forgot about the horrible crime. Cold cases like this could make for good TV show. I know "I'd watch it!

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