Thomas Young Jr., 65, was arrested Thursday in Fairfield, Ala., for allegedly killing 15-year-old Stacy Knappenberger in her home in 1980, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Stacy was found beaten and stabbed multiple times and may have been sexually assaulted, authorities said.
Young was arrested for sexual assault while living in Illinois, where his DNA was entered into the national Combined DNA Index System, a database that contains DNA profiles of those arrested or convicted in crimes.
Authorities matched Young's DNA to samples taken from the scene of Stacy's slaying.
"He married a lady here who had family in California," said Randy Christian, chief deputy sheriff of Alabama's Jefferson County. "She went to visit her family, and he followed soon after in the late 1970s and early 1980s."
Paul Knappenberger, Stacy's father, said Friday he didn't know Young and doubted that his daughter did either.
Stacy's family released a statement thanking Oxnard police and Ventura County prosecutors, and saying the family hoped "to have closure in the death of Stacy, and possibly give hope to others still waiting for justice for their loved ones."
Young was booked into the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham on suspicion of murder and was awaiting extradition to Ventura County.