Suspect in 1984 murder arrested after nearly 40 years

Posted at 7:34 PM, June 8, 2023 and last updated 8:42 AM, July 17, 2023

By: Zac Self

SAN DIEGO (Scripps News San Diego) — The suspect in a 1984 Florida murder was arrested this week in San Diego County after nearly 40 years on the run.

photographs of Donald Santini and Cynthia Wood

Undated photographs of Donald Santini and Cynthia Wood from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (KGTV)

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Donald Santini, 64, was booked into the San Diego Central Jail Wednesday. U.S. Marshals said Santini was arrested in Campo after authorities received a lead from the Florida/Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office told 10News that Santini is suspected of killing 33-year-old Cynthia Wood.

Authorities discovered Wood’s body on June 9, 1984, in a water-filled ditch in Riverview, Florida.

“The victim was last seen leaving her residence approximately 5 days prior to finding her body.”

An autopsy later determined that the cause of death was strangulation, HCSO said.

Authorities said Wood was last seen with Santini.

Read the full statement from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office below:

We are aware of this arrest and have sent detectives to interview Santini, while we await extradition. This arrest allows us to reexamine evidence collected in 1984 using the technology of today, as the case is now considered open once again. While that process is underway, we want to protect the integrity of the investigation and can not release any further details.

This story was originally published on June 8, 2023, by KGTV in San Diego, an E.W. Scripps Company.