The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s oldest homicide cold case was solved this week using DNA evidence by a team of detectives brought back from retirement.
On July 22, 1976, the body of 19-year-old Marcia Lynn Christian was found partially buried in the hills of the Castaic area, after being kidnapped and murdered. Christian, a nursing student, had been reported missing by her husband when she failed to return home from a job interview in the San Fernando Valley.
Sheriff’s Homicide detectives identified Mark David Jackson, formerly of Yreka, California, as the killer after performing a comparison match of DNA evidence submitted against the CAL-DNA Data Bank.
Investigators determined that Jackson had an extensive criminal history of sexual offenses dating from childhood, and was diagnosed as a mentally disordered sex offender. He had a record of multiple kidnapping, rapes and child molestation charges as well as firearms violations.
Police reports established that Jackson died on August 15, 1997 at the age of 47, of a narcotics overdose in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Jackson had appeared in a Yreka court four days before his death on charges of willful child cruelty and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
The identification of Mark David Jackson marks the oldest Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau case to be solved using DNA evidence.