Attorney General Ford and Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam Issue Joint Statement Following Cold Case Hearing

November 19, 2019

Carson City, NV - Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam issued the following statement after today's initial appearance charging Charles Gary Sullivan with one count of murder for his role in the brutal 1979 murder of Julia Woodward:

 "Family and friends never stop mourning the loss of loved ones, just as members of law enforcement will never stop seeking justice on their behalf," said Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. "Julia Woodward's life was brutally cut short 40 years ago, but this passage of time has not made the crimes committed against her any less painful for her loved ones. While securing cold case convictions is complex and challenging, I couldn't be more proud of the prosecutors in my office advancing the cause of justice and promoting public safety. This case has found its way to the courtroom because of relentless efforts by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office to follow leads for the past 40 years. We are grateful for their commitment to seeking justice, no matter how long it might take."

  "On behalf of the entire Washoe County Sheriff's Office family, I extend our deepest compassion to Julia Woodward's family for their loss," added Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam. "We can only try to appreciate how difficult these past 40 years have been. We cannot replace the family's loss but we can help them find justice. Their search for justice motivated us throughout this investigation and we pledge to remain by their side as this case moves forward. I would also like to reiterate our appreciation to all the agencies that assisted during this investigation. We would not be here today without the professional support of the Office of the Nevada Attorney General, U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI's Phoenix Office, FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Forensic Services and our own Washoe County Sheriff's Office Forensic Science Division."

 "These kinds of horrific crimes have no place in our society," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.   "We're proud to work with our partners across state lines to use our collective resources in the pursuit of justice. Our DNA team works every day to assist our law enforcement partners in California and beyond to help keep our communities safe. We applaud authorities in Nevada for their steadfast work to bring about a resolution in this case. My office hopes that this arrest will bring a measure of peace to those who have been affected by this senseless violence."

On August 15, 2019, a Washoe County grand jury returned an indictment charging Charles Gary Sullivan, 73, of Montana, with one count of open murder with respect to victim Julia Woodward. As a result, the Court issued a no-bail warrant for Sullivan's arrest, and he was subsequently arrested on August 28, 2019 in Yavapai, Arizona. The arrest involved a joint operation by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. Sullivan arrived in Nevada on November 15, 2019.

 This investigation remains ongoing. Detectives believe Sullivan lived a transitory lifestyle and ask that anyone with information that may be useful to this investigation contact Washoe County Sheriff's Office Detective Rick Bjelke at (775) 328-3689.

To view the Indictment against Sullivan, click here.

    2019-11-19 Sullivan, Charles Gary 2019-11-19 Woodward, Julia
    Sullivan, Charles Gary Woodward, Julia

      (Photograph courtesy of the Washoe County Sheriff's Office)