After nearly 40 years on the run, a Florida murder suspect who appeared three times on America’s Most Wanted was arrested.
Authorities claim that Donald Santini, 65, used 13 names to avoid being apprehended for the 1984 murder of a 33-year-old Florida woman.
At the time of his arrest, he was the president of a local water board in California.
Santini was returned to Florida and is now accused of murder.
He was sought after in connection with the murder of Cynthia Wood, a 33-year-old woman going through a divorce. Before her body, strangled and dumped in a canal, was found by authorities on June 6, 1984, he was the last person seen with her.
“The arrest of Donald Santini brings closure to a long-standing cold case and provides justice for the victim and her family after nearly four decades of waiting,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister of Hillsborough County, Florida in a statement.
He was named a suspect soon after the murder, according to the authorities, and he quickly left Hillsborough County.
In 1990, 2005, and 2013, Santini made three appearances on the television program America’s Most Wanted.
The FBI was one of many organizations that spent a lot of time investigating this cold case. With no success until this year, the search took investigators as far as Thailand, Texas, and California.
US Marshals were directed to San Diego County by the Florida/Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Santini was detained and charged with first-degree murder in San Diego before being transported earlier this week to Tampa, Florida’s Hillsborough County Jail.
He had been used the identity “Wellman Simmonds” while residing in Campo, a tiny suburb of San Diego.
As the president of the neighborhood water board, he even regularly attended open board sessions, according to officials.