SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – It was five years ago last week when Salt Lake County sheriff’s and detectives got the call.
A Magna woman returned home to find her boyfriend, dead inside.
The bloody murder was the story of the day in Utah. Five years later, the killer is still on the loose and the family is still grieving.
Jason Royter was talking on the phone with his teenaged daughter when a knock came at the door. Within two hours he was dead, lying on the basement floor.
Jason’s sisters and the detective working on the case refuse to give up. They are still hoping someone will come forward and help authorities find his killer.
Royter’s sister, Nicki Mears says, ”I got a call from my sister Stephanie, saying Jason had been in a fight and it wasn’t good.”
In the middle of the night on August 6th, 2005 Royter’s girlfriend returned home. She found Jason’s body. he’d been beaten and stabbed more then 30 times.
“Things are still sketchy on what happened. We don’t know,” says Mears.
Detective Christine Brown was the lead investigator on the case that night.
“It doesn’t seem like it should be difficult," she says. "The suspect in this case, I believe, is someone who Jason knew.”
Brown’s calm demeanor hides her frustration over the only unsolved homicide case she has ever worked, a case she says should have been solved within days.
“There was no sign of forced entry so he let the person into the house,” she says.
That’s a clear sign that Royter knew his attackers. The evidence also points to more than one attacker.
“I believe it could possibly be more than one,” says Detective Brown.
Detective Brown says the evidence reveals the attackers didn’t show up that night to kill Royter, they might have showed up to confront him. The attackers may have believed Jason owed them something. An argument she believes started in the kitchen turned into a fight.
“There was a violent fight and a lot of furniture overturned that led to Jason’s death,” says Detective Brown.
Blood was found on furniture, walls, doors, and window shades in several rooms of the house. What the untrained eye may see as horrifying detective Brown sees as a lot of physical evidence. More than 60 smears and splatters of blood, mostly of Jason’s were found. The blood of someone else’s was also found, on a closet door.
At the bottom of a closet door, just above the hinge bracket and about two inches below the blue tape, Detective Brown believes is the killer’s blood, spilled as Jason tried to fight off his attackers.
“We believe it’s the suspects DNA profile,” says Detective Brown.
Dozens of people were interviewed in connection with the case including one that Detective Brown believes is the killer.
“You think you have spoken to this person?" I ask.
“Yes,” answers Brown, matter of factly.
The killer’s DNA is now in a national database, awaiting a match. Until the match is made, Jason’s family is still hoping someone will come forward.
“It was pretty devastating. You know, Jason’s always been my littler brother,” says Mears. “My little niece and nephew, their dad’s gone. They have to live with that every day and this person’s walking around thinking, “Hey, I got away with murder.”
Royter’s sisters have proven they won’t give up. They along with his teenaged daughter and son are hoping anyone who may have information on this case will share it with Detective Brown.
If you have information on this or other unsolved cases, visit: www.slsheriff.org, go to solve a crime and click on "Cold cases."