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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    CA - Mary Costa, 23, found murdered, Desert Hot Springs, 12 March 1972

    CA Desert Hot Springs, Murder of Mary Costa, 23, March 1972

    40 Year old DNS Cold Case Murder Solved
    January 13, 2012
    By Sergeant Scott Brown #1347
    Central Homicide Unit

    Photo at link of Michael Hayes, 63
    Photo at link of Mary Costa, Age 19-20 (taken circa 1969)

    Desert Hot Springs, CA– On January 10, 2012, at 9:30 AM (EST), the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Cold Case Homicide Team arrested a suspect in an unsolved homicide case from 1972. Michael Hayes (63 years old) was arrested for the homicide at his home in Pompano Beach, Florida.

    On March 12, 1972, Mary Costa (23 years old), was found deceased off of Cottonwood Road and Avenue 20 in the unincorporated area of Desert Hot Springs.Costa had been murdered between one and four weeks prior to finding her decomposed body. Costa was a local prostitute who lived and worked in Palm Springs. She was last seen at a bar in the area.

    Hayes was 23 years old in 1972.

    In 2010, the Cold Case Homicide Team re-opened this investigation. The Cold Case Team re-tested evidence and re-interviewed witnesses in this case. The evidence in the case had degraded after 40 years and no useful information was developed.

    Witnesses provided statements that indicated Michael Hayes was the suspect in this case. After the investigation was finished, the case was presented to the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, which filed the case and charged Hayes with murder.

    The Cold Case Team secured an arrest warrant and served it with assistance from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department in Florida.

    Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Lead Investigator III Brett Seckinger or Lead Investigator III Ed Vargas of the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777.

    You can also provide an anonymous tip at




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Here are a few links to recent coverage of this case

    Arrest Made in Desert Hot Springs Cold Case .
    Jan 10, 2012... an arrest in a Desert Hot Springs unsolved homicide case from 1972. ... Cold Case Homicide Team, police arrested 63 year old Michael Hayes at ... Police say Hayes was arrested for the murder of 23 year old Mary Costa...

    www.kmir6.com/news/local/137062803.html .

    Oldest Unsolved Coachella Valley Murder Case ...
    Jan 24, 2012 ... Michael Jerome Hayes arrested for 1972 murder ... Fla. jail, was arrested and charged last week for killing Mary Costa, 23 at the time...


    DESERT: Man arrested 40 years after 1972 slaying | ...
    .. Jan 11, 2012 ... Michael Hayes is suspected of killing a prostitute and dumping the body in the ... authorities made an arrest in the county's oldest unsolved homicide. ... On March 12, 1972, the decomposing body of Mary Costa was found in ...

    www.pe.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20120111-desert-man-arres. ]

    RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Ex-wife's cooperation helps crack cold case ...
    ... Jan 17, 2012 ... Michael Jerome Hayes, now 63, was arrested and charged last week in the 1972 death of 23-year-old Mary Costa, whose decomposing body ...


    Indio: Cold case leads RivCo sheriff's officials to make ...
    .. Jan 11, 2012 ... Michael Hayes, 63, was arrested at his home Tuesday in Pompano Beach, Florida in connection with the death of Mary Costa, 23, of Palm ...


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    I'm watching Broward Bond Court with Judge Hurley. Hayes just made his appearance and is being held on a no bond warrant. I've never heard of this case, but am glad to see he's been arrested.

    Off to read more on this case.
    The greatest trespasser on justice still wishes it done to him.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    If your talking of Michael Jerome Hayes. you may want to read of his prior arrest in the case of Mary Costa.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    A Florida man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the 1972 killing of a young woman in Desert Hot Springs...

    Hayes entered the plea to the murder charge at his arraignment at the Riverside Hall of Justice, and is due back in court Oct. 2. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Found Guilty!

    Man convicted in 43-year-old murder cold case

    The case remained cold until 2010, when a detective with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department began re-investigating the murder. In 2012, the District Attorney’s Office located two more former wives of Hayes, who confirmed the first woman’s story.
    Sentencing is scheduled for June 5th

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    "43-year-old DHS cold case murder conviction rare"


    Last week, it took a Riverside County jury less than two days to convict Michael Hayes of first-degree murder. It took police more than 40 years to get enough evidence to get him to that courtroom, however.

    Obtaining a conviction in a "cold case" is an extremely difficult task.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    "Cold case defendant gets life with parole"


    Jimmy Stellflug is Mary Costa's son.

    Jimmy Stellflug told Michael Jerome Hayes, 66, to expect to see him when Hayes is up for his first parole hearing, possibly in seven years.

    Judge Charles Koosed was bound by sentencing laws in effect the year of the crime in 1972 and sentenced Hayes on Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after Hayes was found guilty of murder by a jury in May. The case was the oldest cold case in Riverside County.
    “It’s a relief to know that Jim Stellflug has some measure of closure,” Cook said, adding that the case illustrates the importance of cold case investigations.

    Above all, Cook said, it shows that “justice doesn’t have an expiration” date.

    "Remorseless, Emotionless": Man Sentenced in Coachella Valley Cold Case Murder

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