A longtime Reno attorney who lost a Nevada Supreme Court campaign and was affiliated with the Mustang Ranch brothel has been arrested in connection to a 1972 murder in Hawaii.
On Tuesday, Tudor Chirila, who practiced law in Reno, Incline and Carson City, was arrested at his apartment near Virginia Lake in Reno.
DNA from bloody towels linked Chirila, 77, to the killing of 19-year-old Nancy Anderson, whose murder was a cold case for 50 years, according to authorities.
That case broke open when a tip came in last year to the Honolulu Police Department linking Chirila to the murder, according to the criminal complaint filed this week in the District Court in Hawaii.
Chirila was booked into the Washoe County Jail on Wednesday after a suicide attempt, according to court documents. In a booking mug shot, he appeared to be in a hospital gown with bandages on his neck.
There was no immediate information about a future court date or possible extradition.
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Chirila’s arrest marks the second time in two months that a Reno man has been arrested in a cold case.
In July, 70-year-old Robert Lanoue was charged in the 1982 murder and sexual assault of a 5-year-old California girl. In that case, DNA from a single strand of hair pointed to Lanoue, who had been living in Nevada and was a registered sex offender.
Teen stabbed 63 times
On Jan. 7, 1972, Nancy Anderson, 19, was found dead by her roommate in their apartment.
Anderson had recently graduated from John Glenn High School in Bay City, Michigan. She had recently moved to Hawaii, where she had a job at McDonald’s.
The roommate said when she woke from a nap, she found Anderson dead on the floor, covered in blood. An autopsy revealed 63 separate wounds, and she died from a stab wound to the heart.
Police investigated multiple suspects, including door-to-door knife salesmen who were there to try to sell knives hours earlier. But they volunteered fingerprints and passed polygraph tests.
Working on tips over the next three decades, police investigated other suspects, including old boyfriends and the property manager where Anderson lived.
Linking Chirila’s DNA to the killing
The criminal complaint does not give much detail about how the tip came in about Chirila in 2021. But when that tip arrived, authorities searched his background in Hawaii.
They found two police reports. One involved Chirila reporting a stolen car in 1971. The other involved Chirila reporting that items from inside that car were missing when it was recovered. In those reports, Chirila listed his place of birth as Honolulu. He identified himself as a graduate assistant at the University of Hawaii.
In February 2022, according to the criminal complaint, a Honolulu police officer contacted the Reno Police Department asking for help in “surreptitiously obtaining a DNA sample from Chirila.” Reno Police conducted weeks of surveillance, but they could not collect a sample.
Hawaii law enforcement reached out to the Newport Beach Police Department in California to ask them to get a DNA sample from Chirila’s biological son. The son provided that DNA, which proved to be a match to DNA collected at the crime scene.
On Sept. 6, Reno Police collected Chirila’s DNA through a search warrant. On Tuesday, he was arrested by the Reno Police Department.
Who was Tudor Chirila?
Chirila had a successful career as a local attorney. Public records show he has had his law license in the state since at least 1979. In 1986, he was quoted in a Reno Gazette Journal story as the assistant city attorney.
In 1994, Chirila ran for a seat on the Nevada Supreme Court. He listed in his background time spent as a law clerk for Nevada Supreme Court Justice Noel Manoukian, an assistant Nevada attorney general and chief of the civil division in the City of Reno attorney’s office.
During his campaign, he was arrested and spent eight days in jail for failing to pay child support, according to archived RGJ articles. He owed $33,000 for failing to pay $995 a month for his three children.
In 1995, charges were dropped against the then-50-year-old following accusations he kidnapped a girlfriend and tied her up with the intent to rape her.
In 1998, he sued Joe Conforte, owner of the Mustang Ranch brothel, for $14 million. Chirila, who was former president of the company alleged to be a front for Conforte’s business, said he was wrongly fired for cooperating with federal prosecutors.
According to news reports, Chirila claimed $800,000 had been embezzled from the brothel and he refused to sign tax forms.
Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.