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Northern California authorities solve 25-year-old killing

February 17, 2022 GMT

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A serial rapist who died in prison last year has been linked to the killing of a woman in California’s wine country more than 25 years ago, authorities said Wednesday.

DNA evidence led investigators to identify Jack Bokin — who died in a prison medical facility last December — as the man who bludgeoned Michelle Veal in July 1996 in unincorporated Sonoma County, the county Sheriff’s Office said.

Veal’s nude body was discovered by a survey crew on the side of a road near some wineries. The 32-year-old Union City resident had a fractured skull and a broken neck.

A quarter-century later, detectives submitted evidence to a laboratory for testing and in January, a match was made to Bokin through a DNA database maintained by the FBI, authorities said.

Veal left three daughters.

“There’s a lot of mixed emotions with the family and obviously our investigations unit,” sheriff’s Sgt. Juan Valencia said. “Obviously it doesn’t bring her mom back or her daughter back, but now there’s some closure.”

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“Though she has been gone, memories of her beautiful smile, impeccable style, generous spirit, and enthusiasm for life live on forever in the hearts of the many people whose lives she touched,” said a family statement reported by KTVU-TV.

Less than a year after Veal was killed, Bokin was arrested in San Francisco and charged with kidnapping with intent to commit rape and sexually assaulting a person under 14 years old, along with false imprisonment and attempted murder.

The case involved attacks on sex workers, including a 19-year-old prostitute who was bludgeoned in the head and dumped in San Francisco Bay as she played dead.

In 2000, Bokin was sentenced to serve 231 years in prison, days after he tried to escape from the Hall of Justice by using a hand-made key to unlock his shackles and run out of a holding cell. He was tackled on the court balcony.