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Steven John Carlson

The man accused of stabbing a Pleasanton schoolgirl to death 27 years ago has spent much of the past 20 years in and out of jail.

He's a registered sex offender and has been looked at for at least one other unsolved crime in the Tri-Valley.

Although Pleasanton police say they cannot release the name of the 43-year-old man they arrested Sunday on suspicion of killing 14-year-old Tina Faelz, jail records show the name is Steven John Carlson.

Faelz, 14, was stabbed to death on her way home from Foothill High School on April 5, 1984. Carlson was 16 at the time and also a student at Foothill.

Carlson's name came up during the investigation in the Jan. 30, 1989 disappearance of Ilene Misheloff, Dublin police Lt. Linda Thuman said. The 13-year-old Dublin girl was walking home from Wells Middle School when she vanished. Investigators checked him out long before he was arrested on suspicion of Tina's death, but police discovered that he was in custody at the time of his disappearance.

"The timeline on him ruled him out," Thuman said.

Because of Pleasanton's proximity to its jurisdiction, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office will be checking to see if Carlson could be possibly connected to any of its cold cases from that time period.

"Of course we will be looking at him," Sheriff's Detective Ed Chicoine said.

Carlson served time in prison in the 1990s for lewd and lascivious acts on a child and grand theft charges in Yolo County, which landed him on Megan's List of registered sex offenders.

In Sacramento County, he was returned to prison twice for failing to register as a sex offender and on another grand theft charge.

He most recently was incarcerated at Santa Cruz County Jail, where he was serving time on an unrelated drug charge until his arrest Sunday in connection with the Faelz killing. He was listed as a transient without a permanent address, Santa Cruz sheriff's deputy April Skalland said.

Tine Faelz was walking home the day she was killed. She took a shortcut through a culvert under Interstate 680 and was last seen alive about 2:25 p.m. that day. Less than an hour later, her body was found by two other students. She had been stabbed more than 15 times.

During the next 27 years, Pleasanton police worked to find out who killed the girl. There was no sign of sexual assault and police do not think the crime was random. In October, police said the FBI crime lab got a hit on evidence it submitted in 2007.

Reporter Stephen Baxter also contributed to this story. Contact Sophia Kazmi at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/sophiakazmi.