DNA tests confirm remains of Sparks teens
RENO, Nev. (AP) – Nearly twenty-one years after they disappeared from a Reno fairground, the remains of two missing Sparks teens – suspected victims of a convicted sex-slave killer – have been positively identified.
The skeletal remains of Brenda Lynne Judd, 14, and Sandra Kaye Colley, 13, were discovered just three months ago, when a property owner found them in a shallow grave off U.S. Highway 395 north of Reno, just inside neighboring Lassen County, Calif.
On Wednesday, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office said DNA tests confirmed identification made by the girls’ families from undisclosed items found when the grave was discovered on Nov. 20.
Judd and Colley disappeared in Reno during an evening out at the Washoe County Fair in June 1979. They are suspected victims of convicted sex-slave killer Gerald Gallego, who faces execution in both Nevada and California for four other killings.
Gallego was implicated in the girls’ deaths by his common-law wife, Charlene Williams, who told investigators he sexually assaulted the girls, bludgeoned them to death and buried them in shallow graves.
Authorities believe the murders were part of a killing spree of as many as 10 victims.
When the remains of Judd and Colley were tentatively identified, Lassen County District Attorney Robert Burns said he hadn’t decided whether to file charges against Gallego in their deaths.
Burns did not return a phone call on Wednesday seeking further comment.
Last November, Gallego, 53, of Sacramento, was formally sentenced for a second time in Nevada’s rural Pershing County for the 1980 kidnap-murder of Karen Chipman Twiggs and Stacey Ann Redican.
The 17-year-old Sacramento girls were abducted from a shopping mall. Their bodies were later found in a remote canyon near Lovelock.
Williams pleaded guilty to her role in the Nevada killings and testified against Gallego at trial. She served nearly 17 years in prison before being paroled in 1998.
Gallego also was convicted in California and sentenced to die for the deaths of Sacramento college students Mary Beth Sowers, 21, and Craig Miller, 22.
Williams told authorities that Gallego was looking for ”the perfect sex slave” and used her as bait to gain the confidence of his victims. She admitted being an accomplice in 10 killings, six of which have never been charged.