San Francisco police and sheriff’s detectives from Palm Beach County, Fla., made an arrest in a 1995 cold case homicide on Monday in San Francisco’s South of Market area, Officer Albie Esparza said Wednesday in a statement.
Antonio Calvillo, 47, is charged with the murder of Shirley Laseter, who was 27 at the time of her death. Laseter was found dead on the corner of Old State Road 80 and Duda Road on March 19, 1995, in the Florida town of Belle Glade, which is on the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee, police said.
Local investigators had built a strong case that Calvillo was the suspect in the murder and before he could be placed under arrest he fled to Mexico, authorities said.
According a report from the 1995 investigation, Laseter was a known prostitute in the Belle Glade area and many of her customers were Hispanic men.
When her body was found, there was a 5-gallon bucket filled with dirt lying against her. An unused Lifestyles brand condom was also found.
The local Medical Examiner’s Office told police that Laseter had died as a result of blunt trauma to the head and that the bucket filled with dirt was the likely murder weapon.
On March 24, 1995, a doctor at a clinic in Belle Glade called the Sheriff’s Office and reported that he had treated a man who claimed he had been kicked in the groin while he was at work, according to the report. The doctor examined the man and found that he had been bitten on the penis and was missing a piece of skin, and the wound was “severely infected.”
The doctor told police the “bite was clear enough to see teeth marks,” and he identified this man as Antonio Calvillo, the report said. He gave the man a shot and antibiotics prescription.
The address the doctor gave to police turned out to be outdated, but ultimately investigators caught up to Calvillo at a residence just a few miles away from where Laseter’s body was found.
Investigators interviewed Calvillo about his doctor visit and he reportedly told them he got the injury from a fight with two men outside of a convenience store. During his interview, he denied knowing the victim and that “he does not use prostitutes.”
Calvillo was in possession of a rust-colored pickup truck and many witnesses said a rust-colored pickup had been in the vicinity of the Laseter crime scene on the same day. Once the truck was impounded, investigators found the same brand of condom in the car that they found at the crime scene and what allegedly turned out to be Laseter’s blood, the report said. Calvillo had consented earlier to have his own blood taken for comparison.
Before his arrest, he fled to Mexico.
A cold case investigator with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office located Calvillo in San Francisco and partnered with the San Francisco Police Department to take him into custody.
On Monday, he was arrested at his residence at 150 Berry St. without incident, police said, and was booked into San Francisco County Jail. An extradition hearing will be held to determine when he will be sent back to Florida.
Investigators believe Calvillo may have been a suspect in other homicides in the Belle Glade area between 1991-95.