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Updated Jun 18, 2014 - 6:22 pm

Phoenix police make arrest in 1989 homicide

PHOENIX -- Police announced an arrest Wednesday in the 1989 killing of a woman who was found stabbed to death in her apartment after returning home from an Alcoholics Anonymous dance.

Cudellious Love, 58, was being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, sexual assault and burglary. His attorney did not return a telephone message Wednesday.

Laura Hunding had gone to the AA event on the night of July 15, 1989, and returned home early the next morning. The 27-year-old's landlord discovered her body in her Phoenix apartment a day later, police said.

She had been stabbed in the chest and abdomen, and authorities believe she was sexually assaulted, according to court records.

"We look forward to the day we can stand before the defendant, Cudellious Love, and be able to ask him how he lived every minute of the last 25 years, every minute of the life that Laura could not live," Hunding's friend, Kathryn Johnson, said while reading from a family statement at a news conference.

DNA was collected from the scene of the crime, but it wasn't matched with Love until last year.

Detectives then tracked him down and interviewed him in May, during which he denied any involvement in the killing. Additional DNA samples were collected then, and Love was arrested Friday after the new samples confirmed the match to the crime scene, according to court records.

"I cannot say enough about the passion that drives the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department to seek justice for victims and their families," Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia said in announcing the arrest.

Johnson said she had mixed emotions.

"The closure's there, but the grief didn't die after 25 years," she said.

Love's arrest comes as part of an effort by the Phoenix Police Department to solve more than 2,500 open cold cases with a staff of six detectives and one sergeant. Officials say they close about 15 cases each year.

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