Las Vegas, NV -- April 4, 1997 -- Police are arranging forensics tests to determine whether a sex assault suspect arrested in Charlotte, N.C., may be the same man who killed Diana Hernandez three years ago.
Also, detectives from Salt Lake City and Reno suspect the man charged with kidnapping and raping a Charlotte toddler may be the same man who abducted and murdered two young girls in their cities.
John Brewer Eustace was charged with kidnapping, rape, taking indecent liberties with a child, first-degree sex offense and first-degree burglary, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Sgt. Mike Justice said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sgt. Rick Sanders, who questioned Eustace for 12 hours, declined to comment on the investigation but said police believe Eustace was in the Western cities at the time of those killings.
Metro Sgt. Kevin Manning said investigators have placed Eustace in Las Vegas when he applied for a work card for employment in a hotel.
Detectives have asked Charlotte police for forensics samples. The tests "could take weeks," Manning said.
"What it essentially will do is eliminate him as a suspect," Manning said. Police say Eustace, 31, crawled through the bedroom window of an east Charlotte apartment and snatched the toddler. They say he chose the girl at random.
The day before Easter in 1994, Diana disappeared from her parents' apartment. Police eventually found her nude body in a trash bin at the complex. She had been sexually assaulted and suffocated, police said.
The following August in Salt Lake City, someone removed the screen covering Rosie Tapia's bedroom window, climbed into the basement apartment and took the 6-year-old girl from her bed.
A jogger found her body that morning in a canal.
Monica DaSilva, 7, (Monica's story is on page 80) disappeared from her Reno apartment while her parents slept. They told police somebody removed a window screen and took their daughter from her bed, also in a ground-floor apartment.
Monica's skeletal remains were discovered three weeks later in a canyon 10 miles east of Reno, but were not identified as Monica's until a year later.
No arrests have been made, however, Michael and Julie Crain, Monica's parents are suing the police department, claiming police wrongfully identified them as suspects in the disappearance of their daughter and mishandled other aspects of the investigation.