I spoke this afternoon with San Diego Police Lt. Kevin Rooney to get a better understanding of how the police finally tracked down a suspect in the murder of Dane Williams.
Rooney told me Williams was the victim of a sexual assault, and the police collected DNA evidence from the crime scene where Williams' body was found in January 2008.
That DNA sample was entered in a Federal database at that time, but no matches were found.
In June of 2009, another young man was sexually assaulted but not killed. Evidence was gathered in the investigation of that case, and the sample was entered into the database. On Aug. 19, the computer made the connection between the two cases.
The living victim was able to provide police with several leads to investigate, which eventually led them to Philong Huynh, who police arrested Thursday night. The most recent victim met Huynh when Huynh introduced himself on the street in the Gas Lamp district, near the area where Dane Williams was last seen.
When Huynh was arrested, police took a sample of his DNA by swabbing his cheek, and on Friday, the crime lab confirmed the match, Rooney said. Yesterday, police presented the District Attorney's office with its evidence in the cases, and this afternoon Philong Huynh was arraigned for murder and two counts of sexual assault.
Huynh pleaded not guilty today, Rooney said, and is being held without bail.
While media outlets are reporting Huynh is a registered sex offender in Arizona, Rooney said the San Diego police have not been able to confirm that with Arizona authorities.
Rooney said Huynh has lived in San Diego off and on since the early 1980s. He most recently worked for a medical supply company. Huynh did not have access to drugs there.