FAIRFIELD (BCN) – A 50-year-old Fairfield man was arrested by Solano County sheriff’s deputies Thursday in connection with the 1996 murder of Danna Lori Dever, whose decomposed body was discovered in a shallow ditch by farm workers.
In August 1996, Dever was reported missing to Fairfield police by her boyfriend Lonnie James Kerley, who told police that Dever left their home on June 14, 1996 and hadn’t been heard from since.
The case remained under investigation by Fairfield police, and a break in the case occurred 11 years later when Dever’s fingerprints were provided by police to the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, and were found to match those of a female body that had remained unidentified for years.
Dever’s fingerprints matched those of the body discovered in July 1996 by farm workers in a shallow ditch just east of state Highway 113 on Flannery Road.
When a forensic anthropologist examined Dever’s body in the summer of 2007, it was determined that her body showed signs of a deadly beating.
In July 2007, detectives served a search warrant at Kerley’s home, and a DNA sample was taken from him. Evidence collected from the irrigation ditch where Dever’s body was found was also examined for DNA.
Three years later, in August of this year, the case was reopened after investigators collected sufficient information to obtain an arrest warrant for Kerley.
Deputies arrested Kerley Thursday morning at his home in the 300 block of Arlington Circle in Fairfield on suspicion of homicide.
The arrest was a joint effort between the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, and the Fairfield Police Department.