General Crime

David Zimmer and Robert Zimmer arrested for alleged 1989 San Jose murder of Cathy Zimmer

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The case of a 25-year-old murder at San Jose Mineta International Airport has been closed with the arrest of the victim’s husband and his brother, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Cathy Zimmer, 38, of Santa Clara was found strangled on March 10, 1989, in the back seat of her Chrysler New Yorker parked in the short-term parking at the airport, according to the district attorney’s office. Authorities announced today that her husband, David Zimmer, 66, of Half Moon Bay, and his brother, Robert Zimmer, 69, of Santa Clara, had been arrested and charged with murder.

David Zimmer and Cathy Zimmer were separated when she was murdered, and David Zimmer profited from her death by selling their home for more than $225,000 and collecting $183,000 from two life insurance policies, according to the district attorney’s office. But it took 25 years to solve the case. The investigation included a high-profile plea for tips from the public last month about a distinctive hand-made quilt that her body was wrapped in when it was found.

Prosecutors have not revealed exactly what finally linked David Zimmer and his brother to the murder. Robert Zimmer has already been arraigned and David Zimmer is expected to be arraigned next week, according to the district attorney’s office. Cathy Zimmer disappeared on March 8, 1989 after she drove her children to school, had lunch with a friend and attended two college classes.

She failed to show up for an eye appointment at 2:45 p.m. and another appointment at a motivational group, and did not come home that night. Her body was found two days later. The investigation that led to the arrest was conducted by the district attorney’s office’s Cold Case Unit, which was restored in 2011 by District Attorney Jeff Rosen. “When I reinstated the Cold Case Unit to assist county law enforcement with the investigation of unsolved homicides and sexual assaults, it was these kinds of arrests that I had in mind,” Rosen said in a statement. “We do not forget victims, nor do we ever give up on justice.

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