POSTED: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 7:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 7:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — 21 years ago the brutal murder of Leonard Noriega shook the foundation of a quiet East Baton Rouge Parish neighborhood.
"Someone came down the street and told us that the guy that lived there had been murdered and it was a type of murder that was very horrible. it was a shocker to everyone in the neighborhood," Betty Wilkerson recalled.
Wilkerson has been living on Skylark St. for over 20 years and remembers the day her neighbor was found murdered, and the questions that followed.
"We didn't know what happened and why it happened and all these years we've been kind of wondering. It kind of just went dead. We never heard anything, did they catch anyone? Are they trying to catch anyone? It’s always been in the back of my mind, is that person still out there," Wilkerson queried.
More than two decades later some of those lingering questions have finally been put to rest, with the arrest of 51 year old Edward Belin.
"(at the time) They collected the fingerprints. What they didn't have then is this database and AFIS they have today. And that's the only way we made this. The accused fingerprints were in that database," Sheriff Sid Gautreaux explained.
It’s all welcome news for the families who still remember that night 21 years ago.
"I am surprised, but happy. I am glad they caught whoever did it," Wilkerson said.
Sheriff Gautreaux said there could be more arrests made on this case before it’s fully closed.