Local

May 7, 2013 2:27 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Arrest made in 1976 cold case

TUCSON - A cold case arrest for Tucson Police has been made, in the 1976 murder of 20 year old Donna Smith.

Detectives always suspected her live-in boyfriend Bruce McCullough, but he eluded them all these years.

On May 2, 2013 he was tracked down in San Diego, California.

Police say attempts to locate him over three decades were unsuccessful because McCullough, now 66 years old, assumed a false identity.

But recently he began using his own name again and detectives finally got their break.

"It was good police work at the time, it's been good police work for the 37 years since it's happened and it's nice that things work out once in a while," said Detective Steve Bunting.

He worked the case in 1976, but has since left the Tucson Police Department.

"I know that we got an arrest warrant for him back then, but I also knew that he fled Tucson almost as soon as it happened," said Bunting.

It was on East Mossman Road that police say Smith was found murdered at the home she shared with McCullough.

"I'm glad that they captured the guy, he deserves to be in jail where he belongs for killing somebody," said Dina Becerra who lives in the neighborhood.

McCullough has been arrested and charged with first degree murder.

"The cold case unit at Tucson Police that periodically go over the unsolved cases, like in this case, that have warrants, regenerate them, putting in the effort and it paid off," said Bunting.

Detectives visited Smith's mother who is still living in Tucson to deliver the news, that her daughter's alleged killer has been found.

"I'm sure she's going to be crying and upset right now, but she's going to have closure now, now that they have the guy," said Becerra.

McCullough is awaiting extradition from a California jail to Tucson.

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