LAPD Detective Named in 80s-Era Homicide

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Los Angeles—A cold case murder has recently been linked to a veteran LAPD detective.

Stephanie Lazarus is accused of having bitten, beaten and shot her ex-boyfriend’s wife in 1986, after breaking into the woman’s condominium. At the time, she had been working for the Los Angeles Police Department for three years.

Lazarus, who initially worked patrol duty in the San Fernando Valley area, eventually achieved the rank of detective and has worked tracking stolen art since 2006.

Her husband, Scott Young, also works as a detective, in the San Fernando Valley. He is not a suspect in the case and has not been located for a comment.

Deputy Chief Charlie Beck said that Young knows nothing about the killing. “None of us blames him. I don’t know if he’s been interviewed yet, but he will be, as will a lot of people,” said Beck.

Lazarus allegedly broke into a condominium belonging to the victim, then repeatedly biting and beating her before fatally shooting on, on February 24th, 1986. She could face the death penalty if convicted of the crime.

The connection between Lazarus and Sherri Rasmussen was confirmed through DNA evidence extracted from saliva, which had been taken at the time of the murder from bite marks on Rasmussen’s body. Lazarus had once dated Rasmussen’s husband, John Ruetten, says the case file.

The murder of Rasmussen was initially suspected to have been committed by a pair of robbers who had attacked another woman in the area. Later, after DNA tests revealed the attacker in this Rasmussen murder to be female, detectives obtained a DNA sample from Lazarus. She was arrested on Friday at police headquarters.

Ironically, Lazarus’s office was located across the hall from the homicide department.

Eric Rose, a spokesperson for the Police Protective League, was uncertain whether or not Lazarus had retained a lawyer.

She is being held without bail, and is scheduled to be arraigned this week. Prosecutors have not decided whether or not to seek the death penalty, said a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office, Jane Robinson.

 

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