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12th Jul 2022

Anne Pham: Man charged with murder over 1982 missing child case

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Anne Pham vanished on her way to school.

A 70 year old man from Nevada has been charged with the 1982 murder of a five year old girl who vanished as she walked to school in California.

Robert John Lanoue, of Reno, Nevada was charged with the murder of Anne Pham, who went missing while walking to Highland Elementary School in Seaside, California, on January 21 1982.

Her body was discovered two days later in what was then known as Fort Ord.

It was discovered she had been kidnapped, sexually assaulted and strangled, according to Californian authorities.

According to court records, Lanoue has waived extradition to Monterey County in California and as of Monday, he was still in the Washoe County jail.

Lanoue is a registered sex offender in Nevada and was at the time of Anne’s death, living near her home in Seaside, Monterey County district attorney Jeannine Pacioni said.

This case was reopened in 2020 after investigators from the Monterey County district attorney’s office cold case task force were working with the Seaside police service to give new evidence from it for DNA testing after a grant was given to reexamine cold cases.

According to Pacioni, Lanoue was charged with one count of first-degree murder, with special circumstance allegations of kidnapping and committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14.

A warrant for Lanoue’s arrest was obtained on July 6th and he was already in custody in the Washoe County jail for a parole violation.