Deaths of two East Bay women in 1970s solved with DNA

Police on Thursday identified a man as the suspect in two sexual assaults and homicides in the East Bay in the 1970s. 

Fred Farnham, however, died in 2007 of unknown causes at the age of 73.

Farnham had an extensive criminal history, including convictions for sexual assaults.

Authorities say genetic genealogy has linked Farnham to the 1972 sexual assault and beating death of Nellie Hicks in Newark. Her body was found by one of her sons.

Farnham has also been tied to the 1979 sexual assault and beating death of Theresa Pica in Hayward. Three of her children found her body.

"This case passed through the hands of generations of investigators, and their determination and tenacity has brought this case to a close," Hayward Police Chief Bryan Matthews said at a news conference.

Newark Police Capt. Jolie Macias said that as DNA evolved, the latest DNA evidence and fingerprint capabilities were sent and re-sent for processing of the evidence.

Police say they believe there may be other unsolved cases in the Bay Area that are connected to Farnham.