Investigators used the state's DNA database to link 53-year-old Daniel Garcia of Fresno to the murder of Girmai. She was 21 years old when a passerby discovered her body on Jan. 18, 1985, in a dumpster behind the Bailey Park Plaza shopping center at 570 N. Shoreline Blvd., a police press release said.
The case, which remained cold for more than two decades, regained momentum when the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Crime Laboratory developed a DNA profile from evidence from Girmai's fingernails, the release said. That profile was matched with Garcia, a convict who had not previously been linked to Girmai.
In 2011, investigators from the D.A.'s office and Mountain View police began seriously looking into the case. Working with the Fresno County Probation Department, investigators called Garcia in for extensive interviews, which led to his arrest.
Garcia was arrested and charged with murder on Jan. 4 and is being held without bail, the release said. He was arraigned on Jan. 7 and is scheduled to enter a plea on Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. in Department 84, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani said.
Mountain View police Chief Scott Vermeer said he hopes the efforts of investigators might help bring closure to Girmai's family. "We never forget about unsolved murder cases and continuously seek out new technology and new leads to help us solve them," the chief said.
—Bay City News contributed to this report