Arrest made in 1972 cold case murder

2012-01-11-chu12-0110-1972-hayesmichael-large.jpgOn January 10 at 9:30 a.m. (EST), the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Cold Case Homicide Team arrested a suspect in Florida in an unsolved homicide case from 1972.

Michael Hayes, 63, was arrested for the homicide at his home in Pompano Beach.

On March 12, 1972, the body of Mary Costa, 23, was found off of Cottonwood Rd. and Avenue 20 in the unincorporated area of Desert Hot Springs.  Costa had been murdered between one and four weeks prior to finding her decomposed body.

Costa was a local prostitute who lived and worked in Palm Springs.  She was last seen at a bar in the area.

Hayes was 23 years old in 1972.

In 2010, the Cold Case Homicide Team re-opened this investigation.  The Cold Case Team re-tested evidence and re-interviewed witnesses in this case.  The evidence in the case had degraded after 40 years and no useful information was developed.

Witnesses provided statements that indicated Michael Hayes was the suspect in this case.

After the investigation was finished, the case was presented to the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, which filed the case and charged Hayes with murder.  The Cold Case Team secured an arrest warrant and served it with assistance from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department in Florida.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Lead Investigators Brett Seckinger or Ed Vargas of the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777.  Anonymous tips can be provided at

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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