Francisco Merino-Ojeda of Santa Ana Held for Cold Case Rape and Murder in Reno, Nevada

A tip and DNA evidence linked Francisco Merino-Ojeda to the rape and murder of Kyla Annan.
A tip and DNA evidence linked Francisco Merino-Ojeda to the rape and murder of Kyla Annan.
Washoe County Jail (left photo)

A 32-year-old man who was living and working in Santa Ana has been extradited to Reno, Nevada, where he is accused of the 2004 rape and murder of a woman who taught preschool.

In January, police in Reno received a tip that Francisco Merino-Ojeda committed the cold case murder of 28-year-old Kyla Annan, and a DNA test linked him to the crime before his March 11 arrest, according to authorities.

The body of Annan, who had been strangled to death, was found on Sept. 23, 2004, in her bed at her home near a day labor center frequented by Merino-Ojeda, an undocumented landscaper, Reno Police Department officials announced at a press conference Friday.

Merino-Ojeda has been charged with murder, sexual assault and burglary and is currently the subject of an immigration hold, according to Washoe County Jail records.

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South Lake Tahoe's Steve and Cheryl Annan, the parents of the victim, attended the press conference in Reno, where they praised police and said Merino-Ojeda deserves the death penalty. As Cheryl Annan put it in a KCRA-TV report (hat tip to Universal Free Press): "A life for a life."

Her daughter, a UC Santa Cruz graduate, worked as a teacher's assistant at Golden Goose Preschool in Reno, where she aspired to be a full-time teacher. She liked to sew and garden and after her death, her parrot Huey continued to sing the children's songs she taught him.

Asked whether Merino-Ojeda's arrest brought the family closure, Steve Annan replied, "The idea of closure is not right. It's a bogus concept. Closure is having your child come back to you."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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