‘Silent Witness' Led to Suspect in 1980 Cold Case Slayings

Investigators released photos in an effort to identify the two victims in the 1980 slayings

The identity of a suspect in a decades-old cold case involving the slayings of two women in Southern California was released Wednesday as investigators continue to search for clues regarding the victims.

In 2012, investigators used DNA to match Wilson Chouest, 63, of Lemoore to the slayings. The identity of the suspect, currently serving a life sentence for unrelated rape, robbery and kidnapping convictions, was announced Wednesday by investigators who are still attempting to identify the victims.

One of the victims, a young mother in her 20s, was stabbed to death in Kern County. A second woman was found dead a few days later at Westlake High School. The victim found in Westlake was 5-months pregnant with a son.

"This killer left behind a silent witness," said Ventura County Undersheriff Gary Pentis.

The DNA was collected from one of the victim's clothing and under her fingernails, Prentis said.

"Just getting the DNA is not enough. You have to prove that he was the killer as we," Det. Joe Evans said.

In an effort to identify the victims and notify family members, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department released morgue photos of the women Wednesday.

"Somewhere there was a child in 1980 where their mother didn't come home, and we want to bring closure to the family," Pentis said.

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES: Ventura County Cold Case Jane Doe | Kern County Cold Case Jane Doe

Chouest was recently arrested in connection with the 1980 slayings. He was scheduled for parole in 2017, Pentis said.

Contact Us