FREMONT, CA — On December 20, 1982 then 16-year-olds Mary Jane Malatag and Jeffrey Flores Atup were last seen leaving a movie theatre in Milpitas, Calif. with some friends.
After dropping by a nearby 7-11 store past midnight, they were never seen alive again.
At 6 AM a 9-1-1 caller reported they found a body.
This intersection of Scott Creek and Green Valley Road was where the body of Atup found just a five minute drive away minutes later, the body of Malatag was found.
At 8:35 a.M., while the investigation of Atup’s crime scene was occurring, a second call was received of a person down near the intersection of Hunter Lane and Mission Blvd.
Officers responded and found Malatag, deceased as well.
Both Filipino teens had visible injuries and were clearly victims of a homicide.
But the case went cold after an extensive investigation and multiple interviews with possible persons of interest.
In 2018, Fremont police department’s cold-case homicide detective, Jacob Blass, reopened the Malatag and Atup case.
Detective Blass determined additional information was available that needed to be reviewed and they had the opportunity to use even newer DNA technology — thanks to a new partner in Parabon Nanolabs.
“….so we decided to take a look at the DNA evidence and see if it was good enough for that, and it was, it was good. Within a few months we had at least a familial background and who we needed to kind of go after to see if there was anybody that matched the description, someone that was, you know, in the area at the time any kind of criminal history, those kind of things that we regularly do in a normal case, and just kind of go back and see what happened back in 1980.”
The Fremont Police are thankful that back in the early 80’s their crime scene investigators did a great job of gathering evidence.
“So luckily we had great crime scene techs and went out processing took photographs, and then pull the items that later we could test that it would have DNA on and they had Mr. Hudspeth’s DNA all over book crime scenes.”
That suspect turned out to be Clifton Hudspeth — but he died in 1999 at age 48 due to a medical condition.
The Fremont police got the necessary warrants, exhumed Hudspeth’s remains, gathered his DNA and made the match.
Finally, the killer was identified.
Detective Blass made it a point to personally inform the families of Atup and Malatag of the developments.
The families of Atup and Malatag have asked for privacy at this time, but they released a statement through the Fremont police, thanking them for never forgetting their children.
They may have identified the killer but Fremont Police are still hoping to find the motive for the homicides as they’re open for any new leads that could give them new information and find out just why those kids had to die that night, 37 years ago.