DNA links Richard Riel being tried for murder to a 1990 transgender killing

Richard Reil

 Richard ReilRichard Reil, 49, of Santa Ana has been charged with the March 22, 1990, killing of Kathy Foster, a 24-year-old transgender woman.

Ontario California detectives using DNA evidence found at the 1990 murder of a transgender woman have linked it to a man being tried for a recent murder.

Police believe Richard Riel picked up Foster who made a living doing sex work, murdered her and dumped her body in a vacant field on Fourth Street near Hellman Avenue.

Trigger warning. There are precious few reports of this murder. Planet Transgender is providing the following link because it is the only one available. “DNA links suspect to 1990 homicide of transvestite prostitute”

Three years ago, when Ontario detectives submitted cold-case DNA evidence to a law enforcement database, they obtained a hit on Reil. Marquez, who had worked the crime scene in 1990 as a forensic specialist and later became a police officer, described the discovery as “very satisfying.”

Marquez re-interviewed witnesses from 1990 and built a case against Reil. In May, Orange County prosecutors filed the case, charging Reil with murder, using a gun to commit the crime and a special circumstances allegation that he has committed multiple murders, an allegation that could lead to the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

1990 was a very bad year for California transgender woman. The The LA Times article from 1990 reported four ‘transvestite’ murders.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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