Pleasanton Police Keeping DNA Evidence Quiet For Now

Steven J. Carlson, arrested Sunday in 27-year-old homicide case, is set to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in juvenile court.

Steven Carlson is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center in San Leandro.

Carlson, of 14-year-old Tina Faelz in 1984, must be processed as a juvenile because he was 16 at the time of crime. Prosecutors will ask a judge to move the case to adult court then.

Meanwhile, Pleasanton police continue to deal with the deluge of questions from the community. Why did it take so long to get the evidence it takes to charge someone? And what is this much-discussed DNA sample?

Lt. James Knox, who was a 20-year-old Pleasanton Police Explorer at the time of the murder, said police can't comment on the evidence, other than to say it was found at the time of the killing 27 years ago.

Technology has just now enabled authorities to test it, he said.

He can't say anything about what it is, other than to say it's a single sample. Even other police officers don't know.

"It's been hard, even within the department, to not say what this is about," Knox said in an interview with Patch on Tuesday.

He said many in the department didn't even know about Carlson's arrest until the day it happened, in Santa Cruz, where Carlson had been in jail for drug offenses.

People in the community have asked in online chat forums and elsewhere why it took the department so long to make an arrest. Knox says they wanted to make sure they had a solid case.

"We generally want to arrest the right person; sometimes an innocent person is arrested," he said. "That does happen from time to time. So we want to be as careful as we can."

He said the dozen or so interviews police did after getting the new DNA evidence did in fact yield new information, new perspective.

"That really helped us," he said.

He said he remembers traversing the field next to the crime scene off Lemonwood Way with other Explorers looking for the murder weapon. They did it as a human chain, so as not to miss anything.

On Monday night, a local television station re-played the old footage.

"That brought back so many memories for me, just going through so methodically," he said. He recorded it on a VCR.

He said he didn't remember being impacted personally by Tina's death.

"But I do remember so many people in the community being very worried about safety," he said. 

Up until Monday's arrest, no one knew whether Tina was the victim of a random act, or was targeted. And there's been much made about her having been bullied in the days before her death.

Knox said he couldn't comment, other than to say that yes, there was bullying.

In an interview with Patch, Carlson's father said he didn't know whether his son knew Tina. He said while Carlson was a troubled boy, he doesn't believe he would kill anyone. (To read Patch's interview with , click here.)

According to Knox, police went to the Pleasanton home of Tina's mom, Shirley Orosco, on Sunday to tell her about the arrest.

Knox said the first thing she said to them was, "Did you find him?"

She said she'd had a feeling that day, he said.

To read more about Tina Faelz, click .

It's possible that Wednesday's arraignment will be closed to the public, but Patch will be at the Juvenile Center to find out what happens. 


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