Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: Mysterious Confession

Cold Cases Reopened



After hearing Lancaster's confession, Rebecca left home to pick up her boyfriend. Less than an hour later, she was headed to the LAPD's Van Nuys Division. She was so shaken by what she'd heard that she couldn't drive the entire way. Halfway to the police station, her boyfriend had to climb behind the wheel and take over.

Once she got to the station, Rebecca rushed inside and told the desk officer what her former father-in-law had said. After the desk officer ran Lancaster's name in the department's computer system, half a dozen detectives suddenly wanted to talk to Rebecca.

Detective Vivian Flores
Detective Vivian Flores
Detectives Richard Bengtson and Vivian Flores got the case. They were part of LAPD's new Cold Case Unit. Formed in 2001 as an investigative group within the department's high-profile Robbery-Homicide Division, the Cold Case squad's mission was to use advances in forensic science, particularly DNA technology, to try to solve some of Los Angeles's most perplexing murder mysteries.

After Bengtson spoke with Rebecca, he knew the Cold Case Unit was onto something.

"When I conducted my interview with Rebecca Lancaster, I found her to be extremely believable," Bengtson says. "She was very emotional. My gut feeling was...this lady is telling us the truth."

Although she was scared for her children, Rebecca agreed to assist the investigators. "I...wanted to help them because in my mind there was a very dangerous...sick and dark person walking around...that could hurt someone else, and I think he was ready to strike again."

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