Brother-in-law charged in Texas woman’s 1986 cold case stabbing murder after DNA links him to scene


An 85-year-old New Mexico man was arrested and charged this week for the 1986 Texas cold case murder of his then-sister-in-law after he confessed to the crime, police said. 

Liborio Canales confessed to the murder after he was named as a suspect when detectives working the cold case found DNA collected at the crime scene showed the killer was a close relative of victim Barbara Fay Villareal’s husband, the Garland Police Department said in a release. 

Villareal was “brutally” stabbed multiple times on Nov. 7, 1986, in Garland, Texas. Possible blood from the suspect was collected at the scene at the time and her husband was quickly ruled out as a suspect.

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Liborio Canales' mugshot

Liborio Canales, 85, allegedly confessed to Barbara Fay Villareal’s murder after DNA linked him to the 1986 scene.  (Garland Police Department)

Canales allegedly told detectives he killed Villareal because he was angry about a family dispute. 

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He was taken into custody in Lovington, New Mexico, and will soon be extradited to the Dallas County Jail on a $1 million bond. 

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“The Garland Police Department is thankful for the assistance of the Dallas FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, the Lea County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lovington New Mexico Police Department for help bringing closure on this cold case and closure for Barbara Fay’s family,” the department said. 



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