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RACINE — The suspect in a 23-year-old cold case was in Racine County Circuit Court on Wednesday for arraignment.

Lucas Ascencio Alonso, 66, of Zion, Ill., pleaded not guilty to first-degree intentional homicide in the strangling death of Linda Fields, who was 37 years old at the time of her death.

Judge Eugene Gasiorkewicz will preside over the case. A status hearing was set for 9 a.m. on Sept. 29.

Case history

The Racine Police Department was dispatched to the 1100 block of Lake Avenue on Feb. 24, 2000, on the report of a woman found under a tree who was deceased.

A subsequent autopsy determined she died by strangulation.

Despite a lengthy investigation, the case was cold for two decades. However, DNA recovered from the body of Fields was preserved.

New DNA tool finds match

While there was no match for the DNA in traditional databases, a new investigative tool was developed that allowed DNA experts to identify suspects through their relatives.

In Feb. 2023, a familial DNA search identified a man who was a close relative of the person who left DNA on Linda Fields. The individual was ruled out as the source of the DNA, as was his brother, which left his father as the possible suspect.

cold case
Lucas Ascencio Alonso

On Feb. 21, 2023, investigators obtained a search warrant in order to collect DNA from the man’s father, identified as Alonso. The DNA was a match.

Alonso was arrested and charged with homicide on March 6.

According to the criminal complaint, Alonso told investigators he became angry at Fields while the two were engaged in intercourse and choked her. However, he said he thought she was still alive when he walked away.

Alonso remains in custody at the Racine County Jail where bail was set at $1 million. 

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