Sunnyvale detectives believe they have identified the suspect responsible for the 1979 murder of Elena Estella Mena, an 18-year-old security guard. Mena was fatally stabbed during a sexual assault attempt while working at the Western Electric offices in Sunnyvale on October 27, 1979.
After years of investigation, Sunnyvale Detective Matt Hutchison submitted blood samples from Mena’s shoes and clothes to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab earlier this year. The lab successfully extracted a male DNA profile from the samples.
Last week, Sunnyvale police announced that the DNA profile matched that of Sam Silva, a violent sexual offender who was 18 years old at the time of the attack. However, no arrest can be made as Silva passed away in 2008 while serving a prison sentence in Colorado for gun charges.
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Silva had a criminal history that included manslaughter, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, rape, and firearms offenses. It is believed that Silva and Mena may have known each other as they had both worked at the same location previously.
The district attorney’s office has established two new avenues for the public to provide anonymous tips regarding cold cases. Tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or called in at 408-792-2466.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen emphasized that there is no statute of limitations on murder and expressed the commitment to never forget the crime, the criminals, or the victims.