In December of 2008, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department received a federal grant for Cold Case Investigations. The grant funds allowed the department to augment its two-detective Cold Case team by adding three part-time investigators and one full-time District Attorney Investigator. As a result of the increased manpower, the Cold Case Team has solved two cold homicide cases in two months.
The first case occurred on August 1, 2006, at an apartment complex located at 1961 Howe Avenue. The victim, 23-year-old Jorge Vasquez-Zarate, was standing outside of his apartment when became involved in a verbal argument with an unidentified subject in a vehicle. Shortly after the argument the suspect shot Zarate several times and fled. Zarate died at the scene. In July of 2008, Cold Case Team detectives were notified that physical evidence at that scene was linked to 18-year-old Sacramento resident Ronald Bencomo. Bencomo had been in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail on an unrelated case. On December 2, 2008, he was charged with the murder of Jorge Vasquez-Zarate. Bencomo was a juvenile at the time of the murder but will stand trial as an adult.
The second case occurred on August 23, 2004, at a Rampart Way home in Carmichael. The victim, 65-year-old John Lone Eagle was found dead inside his residence. The crime scene indicated there had been a violent struggle and the house was ransacked. In August of 2008, Cold Case Team detectives were notified that physical evidence from the scene was linked to 28-year-old Sacramento resident, Zang Her. Following an extensive investigation, a warrant was issued on January 23, 2009, for Her’s arrest. Later that same day, detectives assigned to the Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Bureau arrested Her at the corner of 24th Street and Florin Road.
Her was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail and charged with one count of murder with special circumstances and one count of burglary.