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Douglas Thomas Photo: Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
A man arrested in Texas last month for a 1992 homicide has just been charged with another murder of a woman found dead in California nearly 30 years ago.
Douglas Thomas, 67, was charged on Friday in California for the 1993 murder of Sherri Herrera, 30, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. DNA allegedly helped connect Thomas to Herrera’s murder, as well as the 1992 murder of Shanda Denise Hayes, for which Thomas is currently awaiting trial in Texas, according to CBS Waco affiliate KWTX.
According to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Thomas traveled extensively around the U.S. during his 40-year career as a truck driver and only recently retired.
Thomas was first arrested in May by the Texas Rangers for the 1992 murder of a Titus County, Texas woman, who has been identified by Texas media outlets, including KWTX, as Shenda Denise Hayes, killed in April 1992.
Hayes was sexually assaulted and strangled “with a device made of wire and cord in a manner to control the victim,” Texas Rangers wrote in a search warrant affidavit obtained by the Waco outlet. Her body was discovered near an I-30 rest area in Mount Pleasant, about 100 miles east of Dallas.
On March 30, 1993, the body of Sherri Herrera — a mother of four from Tulare, California — was found on the Hayfield Road on-ramp to the I-10 in Desert Center, a rural area situated between Los Angeles and Phoenix.
Herrera had disappeared five days before she was found, with family members claiming she was in a relationship with a truck driver from San Diego, according to The Spokesman-Review.
It is not clear if Herrera’s alleged boyfriend was Douglas Thomas.
Police determined that she had been dropped off at a rest stop between Tulare and Pixley, where she was a “known prostitute and drug user who worked the highway rest area,” and disappeared shortly thereafter.
When she was found, Herrera had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death with a belt, according to KWTX.