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Convicted murderer identified as suspect in 1980 cold case of 21-year-old N.J. woman found shot in the head in California


Left: Holly Ann Campiglia. Right: Herman Lee Hobbs. (Images via Solano County Sheriff’s Office)

Deputies in California say they have solved the cold case of a woman whose body was discovered in a cornfield more than 40 years ago.

In August of 1980, two field workers in Solano County found the body of a woman in a field in unincorporated Dixon, around 20 miles southwest of Sacramento. According to the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, her cause of death was listed as multiple gunshots to the head and neck, but for more than 10 years, she remained unidentified—listed in county records only as “Jane Doe.” Solano County is north of Oakland and southwest of downtown Sacramento.

The victim was identified in 1992 as Holly Ann Campiglia, a 21-year-old from New Jersey, according to the sheriff’s office. In 2021, her family asked the Solano County Sheriff’s Office to review the case and resubmit any original evidence for DNA analysis.

“Several months later, our office received a report from the Serological Research Institute (SERI) stating that male DNA was found on these pieces of evidence,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook.

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Officials submitted that DNA to another database with the San Mateo (Calif.) Crime Lab and discovered that it belonged to someone already doing time for a serious crime: Herman Lee Hobbs.

Hobbs, 76, was serving a “a significant prison sentence for a 1975 murder for which he was convicted in 2005 in Sacramento,” Solano officials said. Detectives used a warrant to collect new DNA evidence from Hobbs, and that evidence confirmed their findings.

Law enforcement took action.

“Late last week, an arrest warrant was issued by a Solano County Superior Court Judge along with a removal order to have Hobbs transferred from State Prison to Solano County Jail to face new charges for the murder of Campiglia, including an enhancement for the use of a gun,” the sheriff’s office said.

Officials think Hobbs may have committed other crimes.

“Detectives continue to work in collaboration with other Northern California agencies to potentially identify and/or solve additional cases that may be linked to Hobbs,” the Facebook announcement said.

The Solano County Sheriff’s Office noted that the original deputy investigating the case, Jose “Joe” Cisneros, was killed in the line of duty in 1985, but his “hard work is still helping solve cases over 40 years later.”

“We are grateful to the Campiglia family for their patience and assistance, to the labs whose new technology allowed additional testing of older evidence and to the staff who worked tirelessly to help bring closure to a lifetime of waiting,” the sheriff’s office said.

The announcement added the case is still under investigation and is seeking information from the public.

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