Defunded Calif. Detective Worked For Free To Solve Cold Case Murder, Rape At Nursing Home


After the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles County CEO defunded Detective Division, LASD Homicide Bureau’s cold-case detective Joe Purcell worked for free to catch the 1996 killer of Covina grandmother in a nursing home. Detective Purcell was one of the first detectives on the scene on January 19, 1996. Mary Lindgren, 67, had been brutally beaten, raped, and murdered at a retirement home in Covina.

A man has been charged with killing and sexually assaulting a 67-year-old woman living in an assisted-living facility in Covina nearly 25 years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

David Adolph Bernal, 46, of El Monte was charged with one count of murder, rape, sodomy and burglary.

On Jan. 19, 1996, Bernal is accused of entering into an assisted living facility in the 800 block of West San Bernardino Road in Covina and strangling Mary Lindgren to death. She also was allegedly raped and severely beaten.

DNA evidence linked Bernal to the murder, the prosecutor said.

Bernal faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged.

“In a business where you see bad all day every day, it was really remarkably terrible,” Purcell told Eyewitness News. “This was a little old lady… everybody has a mother, it was terrible.”

“It never went away,” Purcell said. “I’ve had this case on my desk since 1996.”

Lindgren’s family released this statement: We are profoundly grateful that the killer of our mother, Mary Frances Iaconis Lindgren, has been identified and arrested. Haunted by her brutal murder for nearly two and a half decades, we are relieved to know that justice will finally be served.

We prayed that this unknown killer would someday be identified, arrested, prosecuted and eternally judged. As the years passed, it became an act of will to continue to hope that our mother’s case mattered, to have faith and trust that an answer would come. Mom mattered to Det. Purcell.

My sisters and I offer a lifetime of thanks to all who knew mom and expressed support for our family throughout these years of grief. We are also beholden to everyone who helped expose this killer and bring him to justice. We are especially grateful that the cloud of not knowing is lifting, that we can begin to focus on beautiful and happy memories of our mother, Mary Frances Iaconis Lindgren.

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