DNA leads to arrest of Hayward man in 1973 slaying

A Hayward man was arrested in the strangulation death of a 21-year-old woman in the hills above Stanford University.

John Arthur Getreu was arrested Tuesday at his Hayward home in the slaying of Leslie Perlov. 

"It's really unfortunate that we couldn't have arrested him 45 years ago, but justice today feels very good," said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.

Perlov was last seen at her job in Palo Alto on Feb. 13, 1973.

On the same day, she drove her 1972 orange Chevrolet Nova to the site of an old quarry near Page Mill Road and Old Page Mill Road, authorities said. A sheriff's deputy on horseback found her body three days later under an oak tree in the area. 

The medical examiner determined Perlov's cause of death was strangulation by ligature.

A suspect was not located in Perlov's slaying until 2018, when investigators submitted numerous items of DNA evidence to Parabon NanoLabs. The lab entered the DNA profile of the unknown killer into a public genealogy website, and a relative of Getreu was identified as a possible link.

Getreu was identified as a suspect and was later arrested after investigators secretly got a sample of his DNA, Smith said.

"I don't believe that this suspect  expected possibly ever to be linked to a case that happened in 1973,' said sheriff's Sgt. Shannon Catalano.

Diane Perlov, Perlov's sister, said she was overcome by emotion when investigators called her about the arrest.

"I've been waiting for this call for 45 years, and now that it came, I'm just a bit stunned," she said. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about Leslie in some way. She was my big sister, always looking out for me. She was, and remains always with me."

Prosecutors have charged Getreu with murder during the commission of an attempted rape. He is due in appear in court on Monday. He's being held without bail at County Jail in San Jose, where he declined an interview request.