Killer Police Work

Denton police make cross-country arrest in unsolved murder from 1983

Denton police make arrest in unsolved murder from 1983

Denton police took a step toward solving a 31-year-old murder case this week. They arrested Robert Otteson for the 1983 murder of Francisco Narvaez.

Otteson, 53, has been living in suburban Minnesota for decades. He was arrested on August 12 in Lakeville, where he is married, owns a home and has two children.

 Robert Otteson was arrested in Minnesota, where he lived for decades with his wife and children.

According to a statement of probable cause from Dakota County, Otteson stabbed Narvaez 35 times at a Denton Holiday Inn on Dallas Drive. Otteson then fled to Oklahoma in his victim's car.

Although police obtained blood samples and fingerprints from the scene of the murder, no match was found; for decades, the investigation languished as a cold case.

That changed in November 2010 when a new officer was assigned to Narvaez's murder. Identified only as "Lieutenant Smith," the Denton County investigator sent the 1983 evidence to be retested at the University of North Texas Health Science Lab in Fort Worth.

In 2011, UNT discovered an unknown male contributor to a blood stain in the hotel room's shower. In 2013, the lab uncovered a fingerprint that was a match for Otteson.

"It should be noted that the fingerprints were entered into the system in 1983; however, recent enhancements made to the identification process led to an identification," the probable cause statement reads.

Lieutenant Smith located Otteson in Lakeville, Minnesota, and requested help from local authorities, who dug through Otteson's trash and obtained a DNA sample. The evidence showed Otteson as a "major contributor to the victim's nail clippings and blood stains found at the scene."

A Denton County grand jury indicted Otteson for murder on August 7, and a warrant was issued for his arrest in Minnesota. He made an initial appearance in court on August 14 and is due back on August 22, when authorities expect Otteson to be extradited to Texas.

"The Denton Police Department detectives investigated the death, but as time went on, the tips and leads went cold," police said in a statement. "This is still an ongoing investigation, we hope to release more information soon."

Officers from Lakeville Police Department, Denton County and the Texas Rangers assisted in Otteson's arrest.

Robert Otteson mugshot
Robert Otteson, 53, has been charged with murder. Photo via Dakota County Sheriff's Office