DNA Hit Identifies Prime Suspect in 1993 Fresno Murder - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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DNA Hit Identifies Prime Suspect in 1993 Fresno Murder



Fresno County Sheriff's detectives want to question Manuel Aguilar Mendoza in the nearly 30-year-old murder of Bernice "Vi" Wright. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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A DNA hit has produced a prime suspect in the nearly 30-year-old murder of Bernice “Vi” Wright of Fresno.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Friday that it is trying to locate Manuel Aguilar Mendoza in connection with the homicide.

Mendoza is believed to be about 49 years old. He is described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes. The sheriff’s office said that he’s known to travel between the United States and Mexico.

In addition, he uses these aliases: Miguel Mendoza, Miguel Barragan Aguilar, Manuel Purvandro Acosta, Miguel Costa, and Manuel Barragan.

Wright’s attacker shot and stabbed her to death. Her unclothed body was discovered in a vineyard near Orange and Manning avenues in October 1993.

Bernice “Vi” Wright, 31, was found shot and stabbed to death in a vineyard in October 1993. (Fresno County SO)

Have a Tip in This Case?

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact cold case detective Sergio Toscano at (559) 600-8027 or Valley Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867. Anyone providing a Crime Stoppers tip will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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