A Los Angeles woman was arrested for murdering her boyfriend in a 26-year-old cold case that was cracked open by an anonymous letter to police. 

On May 3, police in Santa Ana arrested Jade Benning at her home on suspicion of killing her boyfriend Christopher Hervey in 1996 inside their Los Angeles apartment. The Santa Ana Police Department did not disclose what evidence led them to take Benning into custody, but they said it was enough evidence to bring her in for an arrest. 

The entire case began in January 1996 when police in Santa Ana were called to an apartment that was shared by Benning and Hervey. When officers arrived at the apartment, Benning told them that an unidentified Black male broke into the apartment and stabbed Hervey, 22, multiple times in his torso. Hervey had died on the scene. 

Police were immediately cautious about Benning’s claims. Neighbors told officers that they overheard a loud argument in the apartment prior to the stabbing. Benning’s statements to police at the time were also described as “general” and vague, but she claimed that she attempted to save Hervey and was cut in the hand. 

Despite any possible doubts, detectives lacked evidence to pin Hervey’s death on Benning, who relocated from California to Las Vegas and then Austin, Texas. 

This all changed in January 2020 when police received an anonymous letter that accused Benning of the murder. According to the Santa Ana Police Department, a detective re-examined the forensic evidence in the case and reached out to forensic experts for added clarification.  

Altogether, police said this was enough to bring Benning into custody. Working together with a U.S. Marshals task force in Texas, local police arrested Benning with Santa Ana detectives on the scene. 

Benning is currently being held in a Travis County jail as she awaits extradition to California where she will face murder charges, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.