|DNA evidence has linked the 1978 strangling of an 11-year-old Moraga girl to Oakland serial killer Charles Jackson, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.
Cynthia Waxman was found dead in a field off Moraga Road near Capolindo High School on April 22, 1978. Cynthia and a cousin were at a Saturday afternoon baseball game at the school when they wandered off after a stray cat, according to newspaper reports at the time.
While her cousin returned home to get money to buy food for the cat, Cynthia, a huge animal lover, stayed behind. When the friend returned a few minutes later, both Cynthia and the cat were gone.
Cynthia's mother found her body later that afternoon in some bushes near the school.
The DNA evidence conclusively links the murder to Jackson, according to the sheriff's office.
Authorities say Jackson was one of the East Bay's most prolific serial killers. He died of a heart attack in February 2002 while serving a life sentence in Folsom State Prison for the 1982 rape and murder of City College of San Francisco biology instructor Joan Stewart, not far from her Oakland hills home.
Jackson, who worked a handyman in Oakland, attacked the woman as she returned home from grocery shoppingin quiet Montclair village.
Her husband, also an instructor at the college, found her body down an embankment less than a mile from their home after spotting her purse, a head of lettuce and her umbrella from the road.
DNA evidence later linked Jackson, who grew up in rural Mississippi with an abusive alcoholic father, to at least six slayings, mostly women whom he sexually assaulted.
Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Rockne Harmon, who prosecuted Jackson in many of the cases, said he could still be linked to several more killings.
"He picked on people who meant something to someone," he said Thursday.
Cynthia Waxman's father, Lorin Waxman, thanked the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office in a statement for its continued work on the case.
"This gives some closure for the family. This also removes blight for the community of Moraga, which was hit hard by Cynthia's murder," he said.