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East Bay Regional Park District Police Department
Tuesday April 7th, 2015 :: 02:01 p.m. PDT


Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark A. Peterson announced that last week his office, in partnership with the East Bay Regional Park District and San Pablo police departments, solved a murder case that was nearly thirty years old, and another murder case that had been unsolved for 22 years. The District Attorney’s Office filed double murder charges, with two special circumstance allegations of murder during the course of a sexual assault, against WILLIAM LEE HUFF, a/k/a “Wild Bill” HUFF, 51, for the 1987 death of Deanna Lynn Butterfield and the 1993 death of Mueylin Saechao. Both cases were reopened as part of a collaborative effort between the District Attorney’s newly formed Cold Case Unit and investigators from the East Bay Regional Park District and San Pablo police departments.

The Cold Case Unit is a collaborative effort involving the District Attorney’s office, local police agencies, the Sheriff Office’s Crime Lab, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The unit assists in the investigation of older homicide and sexual assault cases, particularly those cases where DNA was recovered from victims and/or crime scenes. The goal is to match DNA samples obtained at crime scenes with suspects whose DNA is in state or national DNA data banks.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Huff with murdering Deanna Butterfield, a young 21 yr. old mother of a 4 yr. old daughter. She was found dead on December 5, 1987, in Tilden Park after last being seen in Oakland. Ms. Butterfield was half-naked, had been sexually assaulted, and died as a result of asphyxia. Previous DNA testing by the Sheriff’s Crime Lab had linked HUFF to biological evidence collected from Ms. Butterfield’s body.

Mueylin Saechao, a mid-50s Mien immigrant from Laos, was found dead in the early morning hours of June 11, 1993 in her boyfriend’s backyard. Ms. Saechao also had been found half naked, had been sexually assaulted, and was strangled to death with a sock as a ligature. Recent DNA testing conducted by the Sheriff’s Crime Lab linked HUFF to biological evidence collected from Ms. Saechao’s body.

With both cases being linked to William HUFF with DNA, the DA’s Cold Case program manager coordinated a series of meetings to develop an investigative strategy implemented as a joint effort between the DA’s Office, East Bay Regional Park and San Pablo police departments. This collaborative effort led to the filing of murder charges against Mr. Huff.

“We are very pleased with the success of our recently formed “Cold Case Unit,” stated District Attorney Peterson. “Solving cold case murders and rapes is a priority for our office in order to bring those responsible to justice, and provide closure for victims and their families,” Peterson declared.

Deputy District Attorney Colleen Gleason is handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Deputy District Attorney Paul Graves. District Attorney Chief of Forensics Investigator Paul Holes is providing assistance to the on-going investigation of William Huff, including locating additional cases he may be responsible for.

Anybody with information about William Huff or who has knowledge of other unsolved rape-asphyxiation assaults or murder cases is encouraged to call Chief Holes at (925) 957-8751, or your local law enforcement agency. In addition to the Bay Area, Huff is known to have associations with the cities of Colusa, Chico, Redding, Oroville, and Santa Cruz.

East Bay Regional Park District Police Department
17930 Lake Chabot Road
Castro Valley, CA 94546

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 510-881-1833

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