A woman’s nightmare comes true when she’s raped and murdered by a co-worker.
Jeanne Molina had a frightening, violent dream that she believed was a premonition. She told her husband, Frank Reed, about it:
Jeanne Molina was raised in Merced, California. Following a tour of duty with the Navy, she returned home, married Frank Reed, and had three children. According to Frank:
But when her youngest child was two years old, Jeanne needed a change in her life. She also wanted to escape the savage beating predicted in her dream. Jeanne left Merced and moved some 300 miles south to the city of Tustin, California. Her experience as a cook in the Navy helped her land a job with a restaurant chain. Ernestine Hitchcock is Jeanne’s mother:
Jeanne had been at her job for about two months when she arranged for her oldest daughter, Joanna, to come down from Merced to live with her. Jeanne’s parents agreed to drive 10 year-old Joanna to Tustin on July 17. But when they arrived at Jeanne’s home as planned, no one was there.
Jeanne’s parents went to the restaurant where she worked. They were told Jeanne did not report for work that day. The next morning, they went back to Jeanne’s room hoping to find her. There was no note, no clue as to where she might be.
Finally, they went to the local police and reported her missing. Little did they know that on the same day that they had driven to Tustin, a gruesome discovery was made in Westminster, a town 10 miles away. The crushed and beaten body of an unidentified woman was found near an abandoned construction site. Michael Proctor spoke for the Westminster Police Department:
According Michael Proctor, just after daybreak that Sunday, a husband and wife witnessed a man acting suspiciously near his car:
Terry Selinske also works for the Westminster Police Department:
An autopsy revealed that the woman had been sexually assaulted, strangled, and bludgeoned, then run over by a car. Jeanne Molina’s landlord read a newspaper article about the victim and thought it might be Jeanne. He called police, who contacted Jeanne’s husband, Frank Reed:
It wasn’t until Frank was shown the victim’s ring that he was certain it was Jeanne. Despite Jeanne’s dream about her husband beating her, investigators were able to quickly eliminate Frank as a suspect:
Detectives went to the restaurant and questioned Jeanne’s coworkers. Terry Selinske:
That individual was short order cook Carlos Garcia Berdeja. Jeanne might have gone out with Berdeja to celebrate her daughter’s pending arrival. What she probably didn’t know was that Berdeja had a history of violence and a hair-trigger temper. According to Michael Proctor, Berdeja had once threatened a fellow cook and then bragged about killing a man in Mexico.
Carlos Berdeja quit his job the day Jeanne disappeared. At Berdeja’s apartment, police learned that he and his common-law wife had left suddenly on the day of the murder.
That afternoon, another neighbor saw Berdeja cleaning out his car. When Berdeja’s car was later found abandoned, it provided police with even more proof that he was the killer. Terry Selinske:
Authorities have been searching for Carlos Berdeja ever since.