DNA credited with arrest in sailor deaths

Published 10:42 pm Saturday, July 10, 2010

Authorities say DNA evidence has led to an arrest in the 1993 killings of two enlisted sailors whose bodies were found in a field in San Diego County.

Police say Leopoldo Castro Chavez II was arrested Wednesday at his home in Kent, Wash. He’s charged with murder in the deaths of 20-year-old Eugene Ellis and 23-year-old Keith Combs. He’s also charged with robbery and vehicle theft.

Ellis had enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Heritage Academy in Columbus, Miss., in 1991.

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Police Lt. Ernie Herbert says the sailors had gone to a field in Otay Mesa to party with co-workers the night of Sept. 24, 1993. Their bodies were found the next day and their white Toyota pickup truck missing. Both had been stationed on the aircraft carrier Constellation.

Herbert says the motive was robbery.

Chavez’s extradition to San Diego is pending.