Four Decades After 11-Year-Old Girl Was Murdered, Police Finally Make Arrest

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Cindy Borgeson was 18 years old when her 11-year-old sister, Linda Ann O’Keefe, was found dead after being sexually assaulted and strangled in Newport Beach, California.

Four decades later, Newport Beach Police called Borgeson to deliver news she never thought she would hear: a suspect had been arrested in connection with her sister’s death.

The suspect is James Alan Neal, 72, who was arrested at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the 1973 killing of Linda Ann O’Keefe.

It was July 6, 1973, when Linda vanished while walking home from summer school.

Borgeson remembered how Linda had called her mother for a ride home on that afternoon but was told to walk. It was a decision that haunted Linda’s mother until her death in 2005.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, investigators used to locate DNA that identified Neal as a possible suspect.

“For those of us who were there in 1973, we’ve never forgotten it,” Councilman Brad Avery said at a media conference.

“This happened at a time that was simpler. We’re more hardened today because times have changed.”

Borgeson relied on her Christian faith to forgive the mystery killer and move forward with her life, believing Linda may never get the justice she deserved.

“I really in my wildest dreams never thought this would be the outcome,” she said.

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“She would have been 57 this year,” Borgeson said. “I wonder sometimes what kind of life she would have lived. Would she be married? Have a family? Probably.”

“I don’t dwell on that because that wasn’t her outcome,” Borgeson added.

Instead, she focuses on remembering her little sister as she was back in 1973, and is celebrating the news that justice will finally be served.

“She just had this spirituality to her that’s hard to put into words,” Borgeson said. “I know in my heart that Linda was in heaven celebrating with our parents when they arrested him.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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