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San Diego Cold Case Murder - Tips Wanted

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The San Diego Sheriff's Homicide Unit is revisiting a murder investigation that went cold in 1990. The victim, pictured at left of this article, went by the name Laura. Laura was born Felix Patricio Abarca and at the time of death this individual was undergoing gender reassignment surgery. The cause of death revealed during autopsy was asphyxiation, according to the San Diego Medical Examiner at the time.

October 17, 1990 was the last time anyone saw Abarca. She was reported missing on November 18, 1990. It was November 23, 1990 when her body was found in Mount Laguna. She was discovered off the Sunrise Highway at mile marker 33.5.

Anyone with information about Laura (Felix) Abarca's murder is asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling the anonymous tip line at (888) 974-2321. Your information may earn you a reward of up to $1,000.

Between the years of 1986 and 1990 there were a total of 38 unsolved murders that have become cold cases. Twenty-eight of these cases have involed one or more victims who were male. Nine of these unsolved cases have involved victims who were female.

There was one other cold case between these years and the victims were two men dressed as women. Both victims were prostitutes who were transvestites; and both victims were found with a single gun shot wound to the head on June 12, 1990.

The first victim was Rafael Sanchez. It was around 10 p.m. on June 12, 1990 when Sanchez (appearing to be a woman) was observed walking along State Route 78 by a park ranger on his way to work at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The ranger thought Sanchez was a woman walking on the highway who appeared to be dazed and confused. However, the ranger continued on to work and did not return to the check on the "woman" until four hours later. Sanchez died that day.

In the same part of Highway 78, earlier around 7 a.m., another murder victim was found. It was only about 50 yards from the place where Sanchez had died. Like Sanchez, the other victim suffered a single gunshot wound in the head. Later found to be Castro Estoban, victim number two was also a man dressed as a woman. Like Sanchez, Estoban was determined to be a transvestite prostitute.

Sanchez was known to visit bars in Escondido and he went by the name Blanca. Estoban was new to Escondido and went by the name Cinthia.

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