PRICE, KEARNS and OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Forty years ago, a brutal murder in a rural Utah town.
Thirty-one years ago, a daylight execution in the Salt Lake valley.
Two years ago, a car crash that suddenly became an Ogden murder mystery.
All these cases — cold — leaving detectives frustrated and loved ones grieving, until now. People are coming forward with information that has been hidden for years.
"The suspect came from this direction — north — came up on her and shot her, killed her," says Unified Police Detective Todd Park.
He knows more about Louise Valdez’s murder than anyone, accept the killer. Park retraced for ABC 4 the killer’s steps from 31 years earlier — July 24th, Pioneer Day of 1979 — as though had been there.
He told ABC 4 he thought he was close to breaking the case.
"There’s a few little leads that if this story or further investigation produces, that charges will be filed in this case."
Within days of our report, one of those clues walked into Detective Park’s office. He says he can’t disclose details, except that his case moving forward again.
A similar story has developed in Ogden.
"We’re looking for somebody that would have been in the roadway at the time Mr. Bancroft was shot," says Ogden Police Detective Tim Scott, standing a few feet from the spot where Jeffrey Bancroft was shot and killed two years ago in October.
An Ogden fast food restaurant security camera captured the last image of Bancroft alive at 3:16 a.m. on October 24th, 2008. Minutes later, he was found dead in his wrecked car. Then, a stunning revelation:
"At the hospital it was found the driver suffered not a death because of an auto accident but a death involving a gunshot wound," says Scott.
Now, Detective Scott says within 48 hours of ABC 4′s report, new leads came in, re-starting the investigation.
Investigators in Price may be even closer to breaking a case that has gone unsolved for 40 years.
"It was a horrific crime and extremely violent," says carbon County Sheriff James Cordova, walking outside the house where a young mother, Loretta Jones, was raped and stabbed to death four decades earlier.
The case was frozen.
“There was no case file anywhere,” says detective David Brewer. “Nothing. It was colder than cold. Freezing.”
After a year of work, Detective Brewer says he has solved the case.
When asked if he thinks he knows who the killer is, Brewer says, “I’m pretty sure I know who it is." "Who is it?" I ask. "Well, I’d rather not say to that right now,” he responds, “but I know who it is."
As soon as charges are filed, Brewer says he’s ready to make an arrest. Across the state, citizens are making a difference, shedding new light on Utah’s unsolved cases.