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Posted on: January 24, 2019

Suspect Russell Guerrero arrested for the 1990 murder of Jack Upton

Photos of Suspect and Victim
On December 17, 1990, the Fremont Police Department opened a missing person’s investigation when it was reported that Jack Upton a Fremont resident who was 30 years old at the time, had not shown up for work for multiple days.  When officers attempted contact at Upton’s residence, located at 38780 Tyson Ln, he was found deceased.  Based on the evidence located inside his apartment, it was determined Upton was a victim of a brutal homicide.  It was also learned that Upton’s vehicle, a 1985 Nissan 300 ZX, was stolen from the apartment complex’s parking lot.  Fremont police officers and detectives attempted to locate Upton’s vehicle and released photographs of Upton’s vehicle to the public.

On December 24, 1990, the stolen Nissan 300 ZX was located abandoned in a parking lot of a mall located in Thousand Oaks, California, approximately 350 miles from the victim’s apartment.  Fremont Police Department detectives and CSI’s traveled to Thousand Oaks to collect and process the vehicle for evidence.  Blood located inside Upton’s apartment and located inside the stolen Nissan were analyzed.  It was determined that the blood samples matched each other and belonged to an unknown person believed to be the suspect.   

When further DNA testing became available, the suspect’s blood was tested and a full male DNA profile was located.  The DNA profile was uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (referred to as CODIS) which did not match any person in the system. 

Several Fremont Police Department detectives (from 1990 thru present day) continuously worked on the Jack Upton homicide case.  Over the past 28 years, several new leads have been developed and investigated.  In 2016, the Fremont Police Department created a Cold Case Homicide detective position to primarily focus on investigating and solving unsolved homicides and missing persons. The Cold Case Homicide detective focuses on those cases with the highest probability of being solved with fresh leads and new forensic technology.  The primary mission is to give a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves and to give answers and a sense of closure to the loved ones of every murder victim and missing person. 

In April of 2018, new DNA technology was brought to the forefront with the arrest of the suspected Golden State Killer.  Fremont Police Department detectives reached out to Parabon NanoLabs (the same lab which had assisted in the Golden State Killer case) and requested assistance in the Jack Upton homicide case.  The suspect DNA from the Jack Upton murder was processed and compared against existing genealogical DNA profiles which Parabon NanoLabs had access to.  That search, coupled with a complete fresh look at the evidence in the case, produced a potential suspect in the case; Russell Anthony Guerrero, currently a 52 year old male; Guerrero would have been 25 years old at the time of the murder.  Prior to these searches, Guerrero had never been contacted or interviewed in connection with the homicide investigation.

Guerrero’s whereabouts were researched and he was found to currently live in Tempe, Arizona.  In early October 2018, detectives from the Fremont Police Department conducted physical surveillance on Guerrero and were able to obtain a DNA sample from him for comparison.  When Guerrero’s DNA was compared to the blood evidence located in Upton’s apartment and vehicle, it was found to be a match.

On January 17, 2019, the entire case was presented to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.  Russell Guerrero was charged with the murder of Jack Upton and a warrant was issued for Guerrero’s arrest.

On January 22, 2019, suspect Russell Guerrero was arrested in Chandler, Arizona by Fremont Police Department detectives.  With the assistance of Tempe Police Department and Chandler Police Department apprehension teams, search warrants were served on Guerrero, his residence and his vehicle.  Fremont Police Department detectives are working with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office regarding the extradition of Guerrero back to California for prosecution in the Jack Upton homicide.

Please visit www.fremontpolice.org/ColdCase to learn more and view current ongoing cold case homicide investigations.  Anyone with information about this incident is asked to please call the Fremont Police Department’s Investigative Unit at 510-790-6900 or send an anonymous tip by texting TIP FREMONTPD followed by your message to 888-777, or via the web at https://local.nixle.com/tip/alert/6216337. 

Statement from Jack Upton's Family:
At this time the family wishes to extend their appreciation to the Fremont Police Department, Cold Case Department and District Attorney's office for their efforts, hard work, and commitment to solving this case. We thank the community, our friends and family for their ongoing support. We ask that you please refer all questions to the Fremont Police Department. 

Incident:    1990 murder of victim Jack Upton – Cold Case Solved  
Report Number:      901217051  
Location:    38780 Tyson Ln., Fremont, California                            
Date/Time of Incident:   December 17, 1990
                          
CONTACT: 
Detective Jacob Blass #12790  
Fremont Police Department Cold Case – Homicide Unit 
Jblass@fremont.gov or 510-790-6900
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