Wake Forest man charged in 1986 kidnapping, killing of 4-year-old girl

Wake County News

WAKE FORST, N.C. (WNCN) – A 61-year-old Wake Forest man was arrested Thursday morning in connection with the kidnapping and killing of a 4-year-old girl in 1986, according to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office.

Jessica Gutierrez was kidnapped and killed in Lexington County, South Carolina in June 1986, the sheriff’s office said.

Thomas Eric McDowell was arrested by Wake Forest police after the case was reexamined by the FBI and other agencies last year.

“We took a fresh look at this case in September when FBI special agents and analysts assigned to its specialized Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team and prosecutors with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office came to Lexington,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said.

Jessica Gutierrez

McDowell faces charges of murder, kidnapping, and first-degree burglary. He’s being held at the Wake County Jail under no bond and is awaiting extradition.

The case would be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, which has held the case since February 2015.

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