Police Officer Francis Melvin "Jack" Rea

Police Officer Francis Melvin "Jack" Rea

North Sacramento Police Department, California

End of Watch Sunday, January 3, 1954

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Francis Melvin "Jack" Rea

Officer Rea was shot and killed during a shootout while investigating a burglary at a warehouse. As he and the assistant chief arrived at the scene in a patrol car they observed the suspect run in between two houses. Officer Rea exited the patrol car with his shotgun and pursued on foot as the assistant chief drove around the corner to cut the suspect off.

When the suspect emerged from on the other side of the houses he fired at the patrol car and he then ran back between the houses. When he did so he was confronted by Officer Rea. The two exchanged shots and Officer Rea was struck once in the head. The suspect escaped.

On April 2, 1967, a tip led to the arrest of the suspect in Montara, San Mateo County. On August 8, 1967, the suspect, now 54, was sentenced to death but the sentence was later commuted to life in 1972. He was released in 1981 and died in 2002.

Officer Rea had served with the agency for 7 years. He was survived by his wife and four children.

On January 26, 1971, a hiker walking in the Mojave Desert near Baker, California, came across some old bones that would lead to one of most sensational murder investigations and the oldest murder case solved in California history. The bones were that of an adult female. With no way to identify the remains the case stalled.

The tip that led to Ofiicer Rea's killer's arrest came from his wife. What she did not tell police was the reason she told on him. She was afraid her husband was going to kill her over a murder they committed together in 1946.

In 1975 for no known reason, the suspect in Folsom Prison, admitted to a murder in 1946 that officials knew nothing about. He told them that his wife shot and killed a woman she caught him in bed with. He said they took her body to a the Mojave Desert near Baker where they buried her. Officials realized the location was either very near or was the locaton of where a woman's remains were found in 1971. Officials could not find a second set of bones and still had no way to connect the first set of bones to a murder or an identity. The case again stalled. The case was reopened in 2005 with the Use of DNA. In 2011 officials found the remains were that of a 27-year-old woman reported missing by her family from Texas in 1946. She was the victim of Officer Rea's killer and his wife. His wife died in 1994. The case was closed.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .22 caliber
  • Offender Released in 1981


Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Rea,
On today, the 70th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of North Sacramento. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol(Retired)

January 3, 2024

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