SAN JOSE -- Nearly 25 years after police found Cathy Zimmer strangled to death in her car parked at the San Jose airport, prosecutors Friday announce the arrests of her husband and his brother for her murder.
Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office investigators arrested David Zimmer, 66, of Half Moon Bay, on Friday and charged him with her murder. He is expected to be arraigned early next week. The district attorney's office said David Zimmer's brother, Robert Zimmer, 69, of Santa Clara, was arrested last week and also charged with Cathy Zimmer's murder. His next court date is April 18.
The arrests come after Cathy Zimmer's case drew renewed nationwide attention based on a mysterious and colorful quilt that was found covering her body on March 10, 1989.
"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," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "We do not forget victims, nor do we ever give up on justice."
The investigation showed that the Zimmers were in the midst of a separation when she was killed. Evidence led investigators to her husband and his brother.
David Zimmer profited financially from his wife's death, prosecutors said. Within a month of her slaying, he sold their home for more than $225,000 and collected proceeds from two life insurance policies totaling $183,000.
Cathy Zimmer was the 38-year-old mother of two teens, taking business classes at San Jose State and working part-time at a real estate office. On March 8, 1989, she drove her children to school, had lunch with a friend and attended two college classes. She had a 2:45 p.m. eye doctor appointment to check her newly-fitted contact lenses in Los Gatos. She missed the appointment, and another at a motivational group. She did not come home that night. Two days later, police found her car parked in the short-term lot at the San Jose airport. Her dead body was in the backseat, covered by the quilt.
Restored in 2011 by District Attorney Rosen, the Cold Case Unit has now helped solve five major cold case murders.
Contact John Woolfolk at 408-975-9346. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/johnwoolfolk1.