OCHTF Headlines

2007 Homicide Investigation

On October 20, 2007, 25-year-old Yacshicka Watts was murdered and her body was left outside in a Santa Ana business center parking area. The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) began investigating this case after receiving a 911 call that her body had been found. Orange County Crime Lab investigators collected DNA evidence from the victim’s body and stored it in the state database.


In 2013, a DNA hit matched Jose Esteban Cardenas Zuniga, after an unrelated arrest in northern California. Even with the DNA match, additional investigation was required. Follow-up investigation, including interviews and reviewing the forensic evidence led to sufficient evidence to arrest Zuniga.


On December 10, 2015, OCHTF Investigators, with the assistance of Mammoth Lakes Police personnel, located and arrest Zuniga in the city of Mammoth Lakes, CA. Zuniga was charged with the murder of Yacshicka Watts.  Zuniga is being held on $1 million bail.

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