Authorities arrest Ronald Cortez in connection with Phoenix cold case

PHOENIX - Cold case detectives have made an arrest in the case of a mother of three children who was found dead along a Phoenix road in 1996.

Ronald Cortez was arrested Tuesday by Chino Valley police officers with help from the Yavapai County attorney's office. He has been booked into the Yavapai County jail on one count of first-degree murder.

Police say 30-year-old Sarah Maxton was found murdered the evening of Jan. 19, 1996. The case went cold until 2009. That's when detectives began working leads.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Steve Martos says a key piece of evidence was analyzed by the department's crime lab and that directed detectives to the 49-year-old Cortez.

It wasn't immediately clear if Cortez had a lawyer.

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