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Man arrested for 2005 cold case murder in Apple Valley

Noel Cornelius was shot multiple times

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (press release) Malachi Dawson, 32, of Chino Hills, was arrested in connection with an Apple Valley cold case homicide investigation that’s over a decade old.

On November 27th, 2005, Victor Valley Station deputies responded to a call for service for a dead body in the desert several miles southwest of Dale Evans Parkway off the Interstate 15 freeway in unincorporated Apple Valley.

Officials said the victim had been shot multiple times and was unable to be identified.

On July 12th, 2006, Joy Roles reported her son-in-law, then 23-year-old Noel Cornelius missing. On June 23rd, 2008, Noel was identified as the homicide victim.

At the time of the homicide, Noel was married to Rebekah Dawson. Rebekah had two brothers, Malachi and Isaac Dawson.

In 2012, cold case homicide detectives assumed the investigation. Witnesses reported Noel was last seen alive at Malachi and Isaac’s apartment in Apple Valley. Present at the apartment with Noel were Malachi, Isaac and Michael Marshall.

Since 2012, cold case detectives have conducted numerous interviews and re-examined the physical evidence. On September 11, 2017, Cold Case Detectives Salsberry and Hartleben arrested Malachi for the murder of Noel and booked him into West Valley Detention Center for PC 187-Murder. Bail was set at $1,000,000.00.

Noel Cornelius, 23 years old (at time of death), a resident of Victorville. (photo courtesy of San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department)
Noel Cornelius, 23 years old (at time of death), a resident of Victorville. (photo courtesy of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)

The cold case team is comprised of Investigators Adam Salsberry, Nick Hartleben, Steve Shumway and Gerrit Tesselaar and Deputy District Attorneys Joel Buckingham and Denise Yoakum.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact Detective Adam Salsberry or Sergeant Greg Myler, Homicide Detail (909) 387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME (27463), or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at

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