Suspect arrested in 1989 fatal stabbing

HOUSTON The suspect, Cesar Manuel Cazares, 42, is charged with murder in the killing of Leonides Ponce, 27, of Houston. According to Houston police cold case investigators, Ponce was found fatally stabbed in his vehicle on the side of the road in the 4700 block of the Gulf Freeway service road about 9am on June 23, 1989.

The initial homicide investigation focused on Cesar Cazares, but a case against him could not be made. Cazares had made threats against Ponce for dating his ex-girlfriend.

In 2009, there was a kidnapping/robbery investigation involving the Cazares family and investigators in the homicide and robbery divisions doing research on the case came across the 1989 murder investigation. The cold case unit was contacted and submitted evidence from the 2009 and 1989 investigations to a lab for testing.

Police say DNA evidence identified Cazares as the suspect in Ponce's murder and charges were filed against him on July 2. Cazares surrendered to authorities a short time later.

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