SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Authorities say DNA evidence has linked the cold-case rape and murder of two women in California’s Central Coast to a man who died in a Washington prison.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that Arthur Rudy Martinez’s DNA recently matched DNA left by the suspect in two killings in Atascadero in the late 1970s.

The body of 30-year-old Jane Morton Antunez was found in the back seat of her car on a dirt road on Nov. 18, 1977. She had been sexually assaulted and her throat had been cut.

Less than two months later 28-year-old Patricia Dwyer was found sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in her home on Jan. 11, 1978.

Martinez died of cancer in 2014 in a Spokane prison when he was 65.