Phoenix PD: Suspect arrested in '96 homicide case

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A suspect in a 1996 homicide in Phoenix has been arrested in Yavapai County.

Phoenix police said Sarah Maxton, 30, was found murdered by the side of the road near Lower Buckeye Road and 103rd Avenue on Jan. 19, 1996.

Homicide detectives investigated, but the case eventually went cold.

In 2009, detectives from the Cold Case Homicide Unit reviewed the case and began working leads. As a result, a key piece of evidence was analyzed by the Phoenix Police Crime Lab, which led detectives to Ronald Cortez, according to police spokesman Sgt. Steve Martos.

Cortez, 49, was arrested Tuesday in Chino Valley, Ariz. He was booked into the Yavapai County Jail on a first-degree murder charge.

Maxton was a mother of three at the time of her murder. Her children ranged in age from 4 to 12.