SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A husband and father, on his way to work, gunned down in his own driveway, the apparent the target of a drug dealer who thought he was a threat. And now, eight years later, frustrated police are asking the question, "Who killed Hipolito Mateos?"
To look at the scene of the crime, it is hard the believe no one saw what happened September 30, 2002 at 185 Sir Charles Drive in Salt Lake City. A well-kept neighborhood with as many as six homes facing the scene, and yet the killer was able to do the deed and get away, with no one spotting him.
"He did what everybody gets up and does every day,” says Salt Lake Police Detective Pat Wilkinson. “He gets up and goes to work."
The evidence shows Hipolito had no idea his killer was waiting for him outside his home. Before he even made it into his car, the attacker shot him several times.
Police had almost nothing to go on, except a vague description of a man in a dark, hooded sweatshirt and a dark sedan, parked nearby, the engine running. Interviews with people who knew the victim revealed he had attended a party a week earlier in Ogden where he may have met his killer.
Evidence suggests the mystery man was a drug dealer who thought Hipolito had information that would expose his drug activity. Police say the killer was wrong.
“All of our information from our investigation leads to believe and really understand that Mr. Mateos had nothing to do with all of that,” says Wilkinson.
This appears to be a case of a law abiding citizen and family man being caught in the violence of the drug culture. Detectives are frustrated but they refuse to give up.
“With the homicide detectives that follow up on these cold cases,” Wilkinson says, “it becomes personal to them so there’s the frustration level there that we don’t have that little piece of information that we need."
Police believe someone is holding on to that piece. They may not know they have it. They may think it’s insignificant. They may be afraid to share it.
Police say it’s common in these cases for a criminal to talk about his crime. They believe that at some point during the past eight years someone has heard a confession or, at least, an incriminating remark made by the killer. They are urging anyone who may think they heard something that could be a long awaited lead to come forward and help them bring the killer to justice, and deliver justice to this hard working family man who became the target of a drug dealer’s paranoia.
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