The suspect of two Santa Monica murders dating back to the early 2000s was arrested Wednesday following an extensive five-year investigation by the Santa Monica Police Department’s Cold Case Homicide Unit.
Edric Dashell Gross, 46, was arrested by SMPD investigators at 10:03 a.m. as he sat in Pan Pacific Park located at 141 S. Gardner Street in Los Angeles.
He is accused of the 2001 murder of Jacqueline Lee Ovsak and the 2002 murder of Dana Caper.
The body of then 42-year-old Ovsak was discovered on April 5, 2001, in an abandoned building in the 1500 block of 7th Street and a homicide investigation was initiated.
The second homicide investigation began on October 29, 2002, when officers responded to the 800 block of Palisades Park on the report of a deceased female, then 41-year-old Dana Caper, who was found on the side of the bluffs.
Both homicides were investigated until leads ran out and the cases went cold.
In September of 2007, investigators assigned to the department’s cold case unit, re-opened both investigations and through DNA processing and new investigative leads, Gross was identified and linked to both murders.
Gross was booked at the Santa Monica Jail for murder and his bail was set at $1 million.
His arraignment is set for this Friday, Aug. 17 at the LAX branch courthouse.
Deputy District Attorneys Linda Loftfield and Amy Carter will prosecute the case. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office will not decide whether to seek the death penalty until the case moves closer to trial.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Larry Nicols at 310.458.8939 or Sergeant Ira Rutan at 310.458.8959 or the Santa Monica Police Department (24 hours) at 310.458.8495.
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call WeTip at 1.800.78.CRIME (1.800.78.27463), or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. You will remain completely anonymous and may be eligible for a reward, up to $1,000, if your information leads to an arrest and conviction.
Callers can also contact Crime Stoppers by either calling 800.222.TIPS, texting from your mobile, or by visiting their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org. Callers may remain anonymous and may be qualified to receive a $1,000 reward by Crime Stoppers.