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.
Nearly 46 years after the lifeless body of 11-year-old Linda Ann O’Keefe was found among the cattails in Newport Beach’s Back Bay, police have announced that a suspect has been arrested in connection with the girl’s death. https://t.co/kbNMVfIJgX
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 20, 2019
“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.
“Hi. I’m Linda O’Keefe (or Linda ANN O’Keefe, if I’m in trouble with my mom). Forty-five years ago today, I disappeared from Newport Beach. I was murdered and my body was found in the Back Bay. My killer was never found. Today, I’m going to tell you my story.” #LindasStory pic.twitter.com/G25n2IppZb
— Newport Beach Police (@NewportBeachPD) July 6, 2018
“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.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.