The Times' Cold Case series
The Times' cold case series examines unsolved homicides throughout Northwest Indiana and south suburban Illinois. We want to remind our readers of the crimes that remain unsolved. We want to tell victims' stories. We want to see these cases solved.
"Homicide detectives don't solve crimes. It's the public that solves the crimes. We just put all the pieces together."
Local law enforcement agencies for south suburban Chicago.
Local law enforcement agencies for Lake County Indiana.
Local law enforcement agencies for Porter and LaPorte Counties, Indiana.
Almost 30 years later, investigators say a club worker, or some unknown witness, still could be the key to closing the cold, politically charged case of Jay Given's slaying.
HAMMOND | Hammond detectives have no doubts about who fired the fatal bullet into the back of Henry "Babe" Lopez's neck in 1979.
HAMMOND | In the stack of 8-by-10-inch glossy color photos of Mickey Banning, 43, dead on his office floor on Calumet Avenue in Hammond in 1988, there is one picture that illustrates the frustrating mystery of the unusual daylight murder of a lawyer on one of Northwest Indiana's busiest roads.
Working at separate roadside motels in 1989, Mary Margaret Gill and Jeanne Marie Gilbert were slain on the same cold March night.
PORTAGE | On Easter day in 1989, someone entered Lisa Handlon Kopanakis' apartment in Portage, slaughtered her two dogs and threw rugs on top of them.
It has pained some of Ronald Cook's loved ones to look at his only son.
EAST CHICAGO | The closest Jonathan "Jon Jon" Castaneda came to meeting one of his daughters was her picture tucked in his casket. Another daughter was born about seven months after the 21-year-old's violent death.
CALUMET CITY | More than 20 years have passed since Calumet City resident Toni Lynn Caposey and her boyfriend, Jacob Bird, were murdered, and no one has been charged with the crimes.
Dozens of photos, marking happy family occasions, are prominently displayed throughout the neat-as-a-pin Winfield home of Bosko Micic. The 81-year-old breaks down and cries when he talks about his son's still unsolved Aug. 27, 2002, murder.
CROWN POINT | What becomes of those criminal cases in which police reach the point of making an arrest but the prosecuting attorneys are unable to convince a jury to grant a conviction?
CEDAR LAKE | Charles Kouder believes the night James E. Hughes died 15 years ago could have ended differently.
Asleep in an upstairs bedroom, Raquel Mercado, then 18, bolted out of bed when a phone call pierced the night.
GARY | Not much keeps Debbie Dearing's homicide from being fully forgotten 29 years after she was shot in the back of the head while she worked at the Clark gas station at Ridge Road and Martin Luther King Drive in the Glen Park neighborhood.
Next month will mark the two-year anniversary of the death of Alma Mendez, a Chicago Heights mother of three who was murdered in 2007, and her grieving family is still waiting for answers.
HAMMOND | She walked off into the night Halloween 1981 and never returned home. But she has never left her mother's thoughts.
GARY | Suebrina Beck shakes when she gets nervous.
CHICAGO | Susan Sciacca was married with three children. She also was a barmaid at a neighborhood tavern in Chicago's Hegewisch neighborhood, and she lived in the lone mobile home park contained within the city limits.
WEBER FAMILY: Mike Weber's life unraveled in the 15 years since his wife and four children perished in a Hebron arson fire
HEBRON | As if losing his wife and four children in a mobile home arson fire 15 years ago in Hebron wasn't bad enough, Mike Weber also had to deal with accusations he was the one who torched and killed them.
LAKE STATION | On Aug. 15, 1995, Tina Wilkerson's mother approached Four Winds Park about 6 a.m., the quiet hour disturbed by roaming police.
Three young women, two still in their teens, vanished from a crowded Indiana beach on a hot July Fourth weekend 43 years ago.
EAST CHICAGO | Samuel Aviles' anguish poured onto the street where his brother was fatally shot.
Sharon Bova was in the kitchen of her home on Massachusetts Street in Merrillville the morning of Sept. 13, 1989, when her husband, Joe, keyed his truck's ignition and a blast rattled the house.
James A. Cooley's wife arrived home 24 years ago to find her husband lying dead on the floor, a hammer by his side and blood spattered everywhere.
Vinyl records always sound the best when played on a sophisticated audio system, and David Morrison sold only high-end equipment at his Munster electronics store.
Peggy Hinkle's last moments were violent, but she met them courageously, her youngest daughter said.
MUNSTER | On a busy afternoon in the Calumet Shopping Center on April 26, 1991, police say someone entered a dry cleaning business planning to rob it.
LaVerne Isemonger's violent death in 1998 shocked residents of the Gentle Manor mobile home park where the 70-year old woman lived in the first and only home she'd ever owned.
LaPORTE | Ben Rison hasn't given up hope that one day his telephone will ring with news that an arrest has been made in the 1993 murder of his teenage daughter.
Retired Cedar Lake Police Chief Chuck Kouder Sr. liked Bill Lenz, a skinny blond factory worker who chose friends unwisely and subjected himself to occasional arrests in 28 unfortunate years in his hometown.
Deni Weber wants her daughter's killer to be caught, just not for the usual reasons. Weber doesn't think an arrest would change her family, and she isn't interested in revenge.
Deni Weber, mother of Jamie Gray, talks about her daughter's murder and unsolved case.
MERRILLVILLE | Local law enforcement and FBI officials prayed for peace with area Muslims one Friday night at a Merrillville mosque to mark the impending fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
HEBRON | Twenty-one years after the remains of his 22-year-old daughter were found inside the burnt-out shell of her car, Ron Sherman still pursues the answers to her murder.
ERIC LAROI "RICKY" PUGH: Medical examiner rules Matteson man's death a homicide a decade after shooting
MATTESON | Ethel McCullough couldn't help but smile while watching a DVD showing pictures of her son Eric LaRoi "Ricky" Pugh in his youth.
CROWN POINT | For the first time in almost 17 years, Tina King is hopeful.
The sisters of Jason Janek and Kevin Abul-Husn have formed an informal but effective public relations organization in the five years since their brothers were found wrapped in plastic in the back of Janek's truck in an East Chicago alley.
Two Munster police officers were feet away from catching a person who may have had information about a 1983 homicide hours after it happened.
At 2-1/2 months old, someone took away Paula Larson's mother while she laid in her crib at home.
GARY | It was a walk she was used to taking many days in the summer of 1973.
Brenda Banaski was 14 when she went missing during a walk to school in the Miller section of Gary. Her body was found in woods not far from home. Her family and best friend recall the case.
Retired Hammond police Lt. Ron Johnson can't forget Alexandra Anaya's homicide, but who could forget this?
Elizabeth Veloz remains missing, and the FBI is offering $20,000 for information that leads to her disappearance's resolution.
PORTAGE | Detective Capt. Terry Swickard would like to know how someone who was seen alive and well leaving an East Chicago nightclub was found dead on a Portage roadway five hours later.
EAST CHICAGO | Eleven years ago, East Chicago police let a group of witnesses to a fatal shooting go to a club rather than be questioned about what they saw, a witness to the crime said.
PORTAGE | Bradley Bothwell wasn't just a homeless guy who panhandled for money outside Wal-Mart in Portage each day.
SHEILA CLEMENTS SULLIVAN: Acquittal leaves open wound for mother of pregnant woman slain in garden center
Eleven jurors thought beyond a reasonable doubt in 1981 that Britt Sullivan murdered his wife on Nov. 6, 1980.
"Hegewisch Lisa" Sotiros smiles when she hears people around the region reminiscing about visits to Hegewisch Records and Tapes stores in the 1970s and 1980s.
HAMMOND | Norma Wright got up early, for a Saturday, and heard her brother's children crying from across the street when she let the dogs out just before dawn.
Many times in 17 years, the mother and sisters of Elizabeth Veloz have chased young women with dark curly hair.
Elizabeth Veloz went missing in 1992 after she was last seen at a bar on Chicago's Southeast Side. For more read the story at: http://nwitimes.com/blogs/coldcase/?p=120
When she talks about the arson homicide that killed her son in 2005 in Highland, Cindy Niezgoda swings from incandescent anger to sadness, from a promise of vengeance to a plea for help. Then she slides into guilt.
Janie Lowry still doesn't understand how her husband ended up a homicide victim.
Janie Lowry talks about the death of her husband Marion Lowry. The case is still unsolved.
GARY | Chenora Hayes calls out the names of the families that have always lived in the 2300 block of Monroe Street - Franklin, Johnson, Moore - throwing her arm in the direction of each homestead as she recites the block roll call.
CALUMET CITY | The circumstances of Oladapo Fowowe's death remain inexplicable to his mother, Rosie Farmer-Fowowe, and police don't seem to know much more.
Editor's note: The Times' Missing Pieces series will examine one unsolved homicide every Monday from Indiana or Illinois. We want to remind our readers of the crimes that remain unsolved. We want to tell victims' stories. We want to see these cases solved. If you want to see an unsolved homi…
HAMMOND | The men who drink in the Cavalier Inn sometimes walk across Gostlin Street, cross themselves in front of the shrine to Dorothy Szany, then walk away.
Angela Patterson talks about the murder of her grandmother Dorothy Szany. The crime is unsolved.