Internet Experts: how can I find out the details of a 25-year-old rape-murder case?

My mother dropped a bombshell on me yesterday. First a little background: My late grandfather’s second wife (my step-grandmother, who I’ll call Natasha) began seeing a man after my grandfather died several years ago. Of course none of us begrudged her some happiness - she was a great comfort to my grandfather in his final days and we all like her a lot - but none of us was comfortable with her choice. We’ve all always thought something was just wrong with the guy. My mom worked with him before he and Natasha hooked up and said that he had a hidden, but blinding, temper that flared up at her once.

He moved in with Natasha a couple of years ago. By all reports it was not smooth sailing - she tried to throw him out a couple of times but always relented. Moreover, they started a business together (I don’t KNOW it was all her money but I don’t see how it could be any other way), so there were business entanglements as well.

Sorry - I DID have a point, and this is it: Yesterday, Natasha and “Boris” got a visit at their place of business. From the POLICE. AND the FBI. To ARREST Boris for the rape/murder of his then-girlfriend out in California in 1976.


Needless to say, we’re all freaked out around here, especially Mama Chef, who’s been alone with the guy in a deserted warehouse on more than one occasion. She asked me how we can find out the details of the case, and I said I’d put the question to the smartest people I know: you folks.

I tried a Google search with Boris’s real name along with the words “rape,” “murder” and “California” along with “1976,” but I came up empty.

Can anyone suggest a way that I can find out the straight dope on a crime that happened when I was in grade school?

I’ve been able to locate info on years old crime when all I knew was roughly when it happened and the name of a participant. But not through the internet.

Unless the crime was really splashy (like the Black Dahlia for example), internet resources on old crimes are not likely. Many newspapers have archives, but not on line.

If you had some idea what city, and were close enough to do a road trip, check out the library. I’m in the state capital and have access (through microfilm) to damn near all the newspapers printed in this state dating back to the 20’s, 30’s in some cases.

Well, it was in California, but I don’t know the town - and in any case, I’m in Texas.

I don’t have access to Lexis/Nexis, so I’m out of luck there.

Some of the information could be obtained, I suppose, by asking Natasha - but I can’t do that. She is a proud woman who’s been defending Boris for years in the face of our concern - an “I told you so” moment of this magnitude is going to cause her to feel like she’s lost massive amounts of face (not that we would ever SAY “I told you so”…).

Do you know what city this occurred in or the name of the victim?

We have a lot of California Dopers (me, for one) that would probably be willing to do some research for you at the local library. I’m in San Jose so if the crime was committed around the Bay area, I can help you out. Email me if you need me.

There are services that will do archived news searches for you, for a fee.
Get online & check on them.


Tell “Natasha” to contact her local Women’s Services center, have her explain, & ask for their help in getting info. Maybe they can help her in other ways, too.

If local cops were present at the arrest, wouldn’t there be some kind of local warrant, the details of which would be public record?

Bryan has a point, chef troy. There may not be a warrant filed since I assume California authorities will extradite Boris to that state. However, if Texas law is anything like Indiana law, there will be a request for extradition that will give some information about the crime, maybe listing a date and place for the offense so your search will be narrowed. You might talk to the prosecutor’s office. If your prosecutor is not a dick, he/she/or/it might give you further information.

Our local paper has a website where you can search their archives. Our local library (This is California)
also has a card catalog of old local newspaper articles way back to 1880’s on microfilm! So, library
or newspapers would be where to look. If, of course, its a real story.

Why don’t you mention this to your local police chief and ask him for advice? Since the FBI were involved, he probably already knows all about it.

It’s just that it really isn’t any of my business. I’m just being nosy on my mom’s behalf. We can’t just ask Natasha because it ISN’T any of our business, and also because it would be interpreted as a veiled “I told you so.”

Um, I ended that post prematurely. I was going to go on to say that since I have no need to know about the case OTHER than nosiness, will the cops talk to me?

The cops probably won’t be interested in talking to you, but the arrest warrant is a public record that should be accessible to any member of the public. But even that won’t get you very far if you don’t know what court issued the warrant. Cosidering the FBI was present, it could even be a federal warrant. It’s worth a shot to call the clerk of the court for any likely candidates, but it’s not real likely to pan out.

Depending on the details you do know, there are several libraries in the area that keep back issues of major newspapers on microfiche or microfilm. Don’t know if any of them keep California newspapers, but call the Dallas Public Library, SMU, UT-Arlington, and UNT to find out. If it was outside of L.A. or San Francisco, however, it’s not going to be in any newspapers you’ll find archived around here. Even then, you’ll need the victim’s name and probably a date too.

Most likely, you’re gonna have to talk to Natasha if you want to find out what the story is on Boris. Othewise, you’re just hoping to stumble onto something in the dark.

I don’t know, but I would think that if you explained your relationship to Natasha and her relationship to Boris, and expressed your concern for Natasha’s safety, you might get the guy talking. Since Natasha is elderly and apparently has lost some powers of judgement, your interest is not just pure “nosiness,” you have a ligitimate interest in keeping Natasha safe.