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Cold case solved: Racine Police make arrest in 2000 killing of Linda Fields

Police arrested Lucas Alonso for first-degree homicide in the cold case killing of Linda Fields
Linda Fields
Posted at 10:43 AM, Mar 08, 2023

RACINE, Wis. — The Racine Police Department has announced an arrest and charges in the 23-year-old cold case homicide of Linda Fields.

"What we have to talk about is something that the family would have liked to have gotten behind them. But this allows us to bring some finality," said Racine Police Chief Maurice Robinson at Wednesday's press conference.

Robinson said DNA evidence allowed them to arrest Lucas Alonso, 66, of Zion, Illinois. He was arrested on March 2 in Racine where he works, according to the chief.

Alonso made his initial appearance in court on Wednesday and faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide.

Fields' body was found on Feb. 24, 2000, under a tree along Lake Avenue in Racine. She was 37 years old.

The medical examiner at the time concluded she had been strangled. But the DNA from a sole male, according to police, did not trigger any matches in state and national DNA databases at the time.

Watch the press conference:

Raw video: Arrest in Racine cold case murder
Lucas Alonso
Lucas Alonso

About 20 years later, investigators found a DNA match after expanding their search to include family members of the DNA profile.

The chief said that the DNA analyst said the odds of the DNA found on fields matching a randomly selected person are "one in one-quadrillion."

According to a criminal complaint, Alonso told police that he met Fields at a bar and they later had sex outdoors along Lake Avenue. He admitted to police that he strangled her multiple times but claims she was alive when he left that night.

"Her spirit and her influence are very much a part of our lives. And for me, it's the reason that I live my life the way that I do," said Carl Fields, Linda Field's son, at the press conference.

The Racine Police Department explained the arrest in the following press release:

On February 24, 2000 at approximately 1338 hours, a 37 year old female was located deceased in the

front yard of 1132 Lake Ave. underneath a low-hanging pine tree. The female was later identified as

Linda Fields. The Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s Office autopsy results reported that Ms. Fields was

strangled.

Multiple DNA samples were collected and the lab report authored by Sharon Polakowski, in May of

2001 indicated that all of the samples were identical and that the DNA that was extracted came from

a single unknown male contributor. The DNA profile was entered into the case work index of the

Wisconsin DNA databank, the Wisconsin convicted felons’ databank and the national DNA

databank with no match at the time.

Now retired Inv. Steve Mich was the lead investigator at the time. He interviewed countless

witnesses but was never able to make an arrest. The case was reassigned in 2005 and then again in

2012. The DNA of five suspects was compared with the unknown male DNA and all five

were eventually eliminated as suspects.

By March 2005, in an additional effort to gain any new leads, collected but previously un-submitted

samples were submitted for testing. Male DNA was identified on one of the items that was

submitted for testing. This sample was found to have the same DNA profile as the other DNA that

was found.

In August 2020, Chief Art Howell instructed the Investigations Unit to take another look the case.

In September 2020, Inv. Chris Blackmore was assigned to review and continue the investigation into

the death of Linda Fields. Inv. Blackmore was assisted by Special Agent Neil McGrath from the

Wisconsin Department Justice Division of Criminal Investigations.

In April 2021, Inv. Blackmore consulted with DCI Special Agent McGrath, FBI Agent Sarah

Deamron and DNA Analyst Natalie Fischer of the State of Wisconsin Crime Lab. Fischer

determined that there was enough DNA extract to move forward with an Investigative Genetic

Genealogy (IGG) analysis. The Wisconsin Crime Lab could also move forward with familial search

analysis.

NEWS RELEASE

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In May, 2021 FBI Agent Deamron informed Inv. Blackmore that the FBI approved an Assist Case to

fund the IGG testing as to defer the expected laboratory costs. Inv. Blackmore and Special Agent

McGrath met with Fischer at the State Crime Lab in Milwaukee. Fischer packaged a DNA sample to

be sent to Othram Inc. for testing.

In January 2022, Inv. Blackmore and Special Agent McGrath met with members of the State Crime

Laboratory and determined that a familial DNA search would be appropriate in this case due to the

DNA that was available from this case.

A familial search would identify potential close relatives to a person of interest. Through the help of

Special Agent McGrath it was determined that a male person of interest had a brother and a father

that was still living. A plan was developed to collect a DNA sample from the brother. With the help

of FBI Agent Mark Dring, DNA was collected from the brother and submitted to the Crime Lab.

The brother was eliminated as a potential suspect.

In December 2022 the attention was directed towards the father. With the help of Lt. Paul Hayes of

the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency State Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent McGrath

determined that the father was residing in Birmingham, AL.

A plan was being developed to collect DNA from the father in Alabama when they learned that the

father had traveled to Zion, IL and was residing there. A search warrant was eventually written to

collect the father’s DNA.

In February 2023 a DNA sample was obtained from the father and sent to the lab for comparison.

In early March 2023, Polakowski informed Inv. Blackmore that the buccal swab from the father was

a match to the DNA taken from Linda Fields. She stated that the odds of DNA of a randomly

selected person matching the DNA collected from Linda Fields are one in one quadrillion.

The person of interest, Lucas Alonso, was detained at his place of employment in Racine. He was

brought in for questioning and eventually arrested on 1st Degree Homicide.

The Racine Police Department would like to thank the Department of Criminal Investigations,

specifically Agent McGrath and Agent Juanez, the FBI, and the State Crime Lab for all of their

tireless assistance with this case. A special thanks you to Lt. Paul Hayes for his help in Alabama and

to Chief Art Howell and other members of the Racine Police Department for not giving up on

justice for Linda Fields


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