ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE
Case # 15CF2751
Date: October 6, 2017
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison today for the cold case murder of a woman whose body was left in a parking lot in Santa Ana in 2007.
Defendant: Jose Esteban Cardenas Zuniga, 41, Mammoth Lakes
Found guilty by a jury on July 20, 2017 of: First Degree Murder
Sentence: 25 years to life in state prison
Circumstances of Case:
- On or about Oct. 20, 2007, Zuniga murdered 24-year-old Yacshicka W. by strangling her and leaving her body outside in a parking lot of a commercial business center in Santa Ana.
- Hours later, transients discovered the victim’s body and contacted Santa Ana Police Department, who began investigating this case.
- 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 the defendant after an unrelated arrest in Santa Ana.
- The Orange County Cold Case Homicide Task Force (OCHTF) reopened the investigation and Zuniga was charged with murder after sufficient evidence was gathered including additional witness interviews.
- At the sentencing today, the victim’s mother, father, sister, and brother delivered victim impact statements to the court pursuant to Marsy’s Law. They spoke about how Zuniga robbed them of their loved one and how Yacshicka’s three boys will never be the same after the loss of their mother.
Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker, Homicide Unit
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff
Michelle Van Der Linden,Spokesperson