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Cold Case Homicide Team

Cold Cases 1996 - 2000

Victim
Photo of Victim Sleiman Hallak

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Victim: Sleiman Hallak

Date: April 17, 1996

Address: 101 S. Meadowbrook Drive

Synopsis: Sleiman Hallak owned the Moonlight Market at Skyline and Meadowbrook for more than twenty years. He was known around the neighborhood as “Pops.” On Wednesday, April 17, 1996, at about 10:30 a.m., Hallak was working at the store counter waiting on a cigarette dealer when a black male armed with a gun entered the store and demanded that Hallak “give up the money.” When Hallak did not respond quickly enough, the suspect shot him to death and stole the money from the register and a handgun from the store.

There is a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this murder.


Victim #1
Photo of Victim Tsunao Saitohh

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Victim #2
Photo of Victim Loullie Saitoh

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Gun
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Victim #1: Tsunao Saitoh, age 46

Victim #2: Loullie Saitoh, age 13

Date: May 8, 1996

Address: 7000 Fairway Road

Synopsis: Dr. Tsunao Saitoh was an accomplished and well-respected research neuroscientist at UCSD. On May 8, 1996 at about 11:00 p.m., Dr. Saitoh and his 13-year-old daughter, Loullie, returned home from the research lab on campus. As their car pulled up to the front of their home, an unknown suspect or suspects ambushed Dr. Saitoh and his daughter in the driveway, shooting and killing them both. Neighbors heard the gunshots and passers-by found the bodies a short time afterward. Dr. Saitoh was slumped over in the car and Loullie had run a short distance before being gunned down.

Numerous .380 caliber casings were found in the driveway and street where the gunshots were fired. Based on a ballistics analysis of these casings, the murder weapon was identified as a Grendel P-12 .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol, a gun manufactured in limited quantities.

The Grendel P-12 semi-automatic pistol (pictured) is the same make and model of gun as the one used to murder Dr. Saitoh and his daughter. The murder weapon itself was not located. Investigators are interested in following up on any leads related to this case.

An exhaustive investigation was conducted in this case, and the motive for the double murder remains a mystery. Dr. Saitoh had no known enemies, and neither he nor his daughter was involved in any high-risk activities.


Victim
Photo of Victim Brian Forrest

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Victim: Brian Forrest

Date: November 6, 1996

Address: East alley 3900 Sequoia Street

Synopsis: Brian Forrest, a waiter at a local restaurant, was found beaten to death in an alley in Pacific Beach at about 10:30 in the morning on November 6, 1996. Forrest had succumbed to massive blunt force trauma to the back of his head, cracked ribs and a broken spine. There were no known witnesses to the attack on Forrest. Several persons had walked through the alley about an hour before and told detectives that Forrest’s body had not been there at that time.

Forrest was last seen alive by friends at a late-night poker game the evening before. After the game ended, Forrest took off by himself and was not seen again until the discovery of his body the following morning.


Victim
Photo of Victim Carmen Estrada

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Fugitive Suspect
Photo of Fugitive Suspect Luis Galindo

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Victim: Carmen Estrada

Fugitive Suspect: Luis Galindo

Date: March 15, 1997

Address: 4125 El Cajon Blvd.

Synopsis: Luis Eduardo Galindo is wanted for the murder of Carmen Estrada and her unborn baby. The murder occurred on March 15, 1997; there is an outstanding felony warrant charging Galindo with two counts of murder.

Luis Galindo, also known as “Freddy” D.O.B. 11-29-72, is a Hispanic male, 5’7” tall and weighing 155 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes, and worked in the construction trade.

The incident for which Galindo is wanted occurred on March 15, 1997. Galindo, his pregnant girlfriend Carmen Estrada and a group of their friends had met up at the Vallerta Bar and Grill at 4125 El Cajon Boulevard. There, Galindo and Estrada became involved in an argument because Galindo wanted to go drinking in Tijuana with a friend. Galindo and Estrada walked outside. Galindo suddenly grabbed Estrada by the neck and dragged her around the corner into an alley. According to a witness, Galindo whispered something into Estrada’s ear, then produced a .45 revolver and shot her in the head at point blank range.

Galindo then fled, leaving Estrada to die in the alley. He has not been seen since. Estrada was still conscious when the first bystanders rushed to her side. She identified “Freddy” as her attacker and asked that her son be looked after. A short time later she passed away, along with her unborn baby.
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Victim
Photo of Victim Heidi Hall

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Victim: Heidi Hall

Date: July 11, 1997

Address: 4473 Ohio Street

Synopsis: Heidi Hall lived alone in an apartment on Ohio Street and worked part-time as an exotic dancer.

On July 11, 1997, a landlord entered Hall’s apartment to check on her after neighbors voiced concerns about not seeing her for several days. Hall had been strangled to death. The neighbor found Hall’s body lying on her bed in an advanced state of decomposition.


Victim
Photo of Victim Rodney Leidig

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Victim: Rodney Leidig, age 18

Date: April 9, 1998

Address: 300 Treewood Street

Synopsis: Rodney Leidig and two friends were standing on the sidewalk on the south side of 300 Treewood Street, when two suspects began shooting at them from the yard of a house on the corner of Treewood and Sweetwood. Leidig and his friends immediately took off running westbound, at which point Leidig was hit and went down. Leidig’s friends ran to a neighbor’s house for help. They then returned to the area to check on Leidig and found him lying on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. They were trying to load Leidig into their car to take him to the hospital when the first police officers, responding to a radio call of shots fired, arrived at the scene. Paramedics responded, but by the time they arrived Leidig had passed away.


Victim
Photo of Victim David Patrick Barnwell

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Victim: David Scott Barnwell, 30 (aka Paul Moyers)

Date: June 27, 1998

Address: 6300 Sullivan Avenue

Synopsis: David Scott Barnwell was shot and killed in front of his residence by an unknown suspect.

According to witnesses, the suspect was driving a newer white 4-door Ford Explorer with tinted windows back and forth in the neighborhood where Barnwell lived. When Barnwell saw the suspect, he walked up to the driver’s side of the vehicle, whereupon the suspect got out of the vehicle and shot Barnwell several times. The suspect then got back into the vehicle and drove away eastbound on Sullivan Avenue.

Witnesses gave contradictory descriptions of the suspect. One witness said the shooter was a white male dressed in a light shirt and light pants. Another witness saw the vehicle leave the area with two Latino male occupants wearing T-shirts. A third witness saw a Latino male with short dark hair, wearing a blue uniform.


Victim
Photo of Victim Lawrence Smith

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Victim: Lawrence Smith

Date: August 31, 1998

Address: 7700 Paradise Valley Road

Synopsis: On Aug 31, 1998, at about 8:20 p.m., SDPD officers respond to a radio call of a shooting at Deep Dell and Paradise Valley Road. When the officers arrived, they found the body of the victim, Lawrence Smith, 16, in the middle of the street at 7700 Paradise Valley Road.

Witnesses told officers they had seen a man with a gun chase Lawrence out of the Meadowbrook Apartments into the street on the north side of 7800 Paradise Valley Road. The suspect caught up to Smith and shot him three or four times. Smith fell into the street and was run over by a passing vehicle. The suspect, a black male 17-20 years old wearing dark clothing, ran southbound on Deep Dell and then eastbound on Prairie Mound Way.

The driver who ran over Smith stopped at the scene, attempted to render aid and gave a statement to police.

Smith had rehabilitated himself after some earlier brushes with the law. He was working, going to school and, according to loved ones, was looking forward to a bright future.


Fugitive Suspect
Photo of Fugitive Suspect Abdi Adan

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Fugitive Suspect: Abdi Adan

Date: September 9, 1998

Address: 4900 University Avenue

Synopsis: Abdi Adan is wanted for the murder of his sister-in-law, Tigist Mohammed, that occurred at 4900 University Avenue on September 9, 1998. There is an outstanding felony arrest warrant charging Abdi Adan with murder.
Mohammed, along with her two sisters, were walking up Winona Avenue in San Diego when they were confronted by the suspect, Adan, who appeared to be very angry. Mohammed fled from Adan by running up University Avenue. Adan chased Mohammed out into oncoming traffic where she was struck by a car. Adan caught up to Mohammed and stabbed her multiple times in the torso and neck. Mohammed was taken to the hospital where she died a short time later. Adan was last seen running northbound on 50th Street.

The suspect, Adan, is a 39-year-old Somalian male, 5,7” approximately 160 lbs. with black hair and brown eyes. He may have fled the United States since the murder. Adan is known to be violent when drinking.


Victim
Photo of Victim Tilda J. Phipps

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Victim: Tilda J. Phipps, age 40

Date: September 9, 1998

Address: 500 Coast Blvd.

Synopsis: On September 9, 1998, officers responded to a report of a traffic collision on Coast Boulevard in La Jolla. Upon arrival, they discovered the victim, Tilda Phipps, unresponsive and seated in the driver’s seat of her red Ford Mustang that had crashed into the front yard of a residence. At first Phipps’s injuries were believed to have been caused by the collision, however, a secondary examination revealed that Phipps had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. She died a short time later.

Witnesses at the scene reported hearing the sound of a gunshot just before Phipps’s Mustang crashed.

Phipps was outgoing and made friends easily, and she was well-known in the La Jolla area for her good looks and flamboyant personality.


Fugitive Suspect
Photo of Fugitive Suspect Chang Chi Kao (aka “Gripper”)

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Fugitive Suspect: Chang Chi Kao (aka "Gripper")

Date: September 13, 1998

Address: 6537 Bell Bluff Avenue

Synopsis: The suspect Chang Chi Kao is wanted for the murder of 19-year-old David Dobson that occurred on September 13, 1998 at 6537 Bell Bluff Avenue. There is an outstanding felony arrest warrant charging Kao with murder.

On the evening of September 13, 1998, a crowd of young people was attending a party on Bell Bluff Avenue in San Carlos. The crowd had spilled outside and onto the sidewalk and street where everyone was drinking and talking. A slow-moving car went by the group and one of the party-goers made a kicking motion at the car as it passed, thinking it was his friend’s car. The car sped off but later returned with several more cars, each car filled with Asian teenagers who were gang members. The gang members picked Dobson out of the group and attacked him in retaliation for the kicking incident (he was not the kicker). Dobson was repeatedly beaten and then shot, and subsequently died of his injuries.

Several other suspects have been arrested and convicted for this murder. Kao is the last outstanding suspect.

Kao is an Asian male born 2-17-80. He is 5’10” and weighs 160 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes. Kao has tattoos on the right side of his back and on his right upper arm. He is known to associate with Laotion-American gang members and has contacts in neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego and in the North County.


Victim
Photo of Victim Sherman Jennings

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Victim: Sherman Jennings

Date: January 14, 1999

Address: 4100 C Street

Synopsis: Sherman Jennings was a driver for the Yellow Cab Taxi Company.

At about 3:30 a.m. on January 14, 1999, a resident living at 4100 C Street was leaving for work when he noticed a Yellow Cab, apparently abandoned, parked across the street. The resident found the driver, Sherman Jennings, slumped forward in his seat. When the police arrived they discovered Jennings had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his head.

Records from Yellow Cab indicated that the last call Jennings received was at 10:28 p.m. from a person identifying himself as Kevin Brown. The call was placed from a pay phone at the Euclid trolley station. Jennings probably picked up the fare at around 10:36 p.m., based on his meter activation. Nothing further was heard from Jennings until his body was found on C Street several hours later.


Victim
Photo of Victim Susan Eleanor Cohen

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Victim: Susan Eleanor Cohen, 53

Date: February 26, 1999

Address: 3800 Riley Street

Synopsis: On the morning of February 26, 1999, officers responded to 3800 Riley Street to investigate a foul odor coming from a parked Dodge van. Inside the van, the officers found the body of 53-year-old Susan Cohen, who had been strangled to death.

According to witnesses, the van had been parked in the same spot for at least two weeks. During that time, several young white females and a dark-complected male (possibly Middle-Eastern) were seen loitering next to the van on several occasions.

Cohen had lived and frequented Ocean Beach and Imperial Beach for many years. She was known to people on the street as “Susie.” Cohen sometimes lived on the street herself, and sometimes stayed with friends or lived in vehicles. Cohen and her friends were regular visitors at the Viejas Indian Casino and the Sycuan Gaming Casino. Cohen was also peripherally involved in the drug world, occasionally using methamphetamine and/or dealing in small quantities.


Victim
Photo of Victim Jane Darby

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Victim: Jane Darby

Date: September 3, 1999

Address: 3919 Mason Street

Synopsis: Jane Darby was found by her son apparently strangled to death in her home in the early morning hours of September 3, 1999.

On the night of September 2, 1999 Darby went to a bar and came home with an unknown white male. Darby brought the man into her room and closed the door. Darby’s adult son, who lived with her, left the house as he always did when Darby brought someone home. Later, the son returned and found his mother dead and the male gone.

Darby’s companion was described as a white male in his mid-thirties, approximately 6’3” 200 lbs., with a stocky build, light brown/dirty blonde hair, mustache, and with a multi-colored tattoo on his chest (possibly a tattoo of a dragon). The male might have been carrying a fake Colorado driver’s license.


Fugitive Suspect
Photo of Fugitive Suspect Alfredo Muñoz Yanez (aka Scarface)

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Fugitive Suspect: Alfredo Muñoz Yanez (aka "Scarface")

Date: September 18, 1999

Address: 4300 Newton Avenue

Synopsis: The suspect Alfredo Muñoz Yanez is wanted for the murder of 15-year-old Wilberto Rodriguez that occurred on September 18, 1999 at 4300 Newton Avenue. There is an outstanding felony arrest warrant charging Yanez with murder.

The victim Wilberto Rodriguez was a guest at a quinceañera where numerous juveniles were in attendance when he became involved in an altercation with the suspect Yanez. Yanez pulled a gun and fired several shots at the victim. A second suspect was also armed and also fired several shots. Rodriguez was struck in the leg and chest. He was transported to the hospital where he later died of his wounds. One suspect was apprehended and one suspect, Yanez, remains at large.

Yanez, aka “Scarface” is a Hispanic male born 5-02-79. At the time of the incident, Yanez was described as being 5’9” tall and 158 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes. Yanez reportedly fled to Mexico following the shooting.


Victim
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Victim: Jane Doe

Date: January 24, 2000

Address: 6100 El Cajon Blvd.

Synopsis: On January 24, 2000, shortly after midnight, SDPD officers responded to the parking lot of the College Avenue Baptist Church at 6100 El Cajon Boulevard regarding a fire. When the officers arrived they found a body totally engulfed in flames. The victim was dead and no identification could be made.

A subsequent autopsy revealed the victim was a white female in her 20s, 5’9” to 5’10” and 190 - 200 lbs, with light brown hair. The woman had been stabbed and strangled to death. In addition, both of her hands and a portion of her left calf were missing, presumably cut off by the suspect to prevent authorities from identifying her.

The victim has never been identified.


Victim
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Victim: Robert Edward Belton, age 59

Date: July 14, 2000

Address: 3411 Ashford Street

Synopsis: On the evening of July 14, 2000 officers went to check on the resident at 3411 Ashford Street. Upon their arrival, the officers were met by neighbors who said they had not seen the resident, Robert Belton, for several days and were concerned about his well-being. The officers subsequently forced entry into the house and discovered Belton inside dead. Belton had been beaten to death with a blunt object.

Belton’s 2000 Chevrolet pick-up truck was missing from the residence. It was later recovered.


Victim
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Victim: Sergio Sprandel

Date: August 31, 2000

Address: 8657 Villa La Jolla Drive

Synopsis: On August 31, 2000, Sergio Sprandel was killed with a gunshot to the head in a deserted area of the parking lot of the La Jolla Village Square shopping center. Customers leaving the mall at about 10:20 p.m. saw his body lying on the ground next to his Chevrolet Blazer and called 911. Sprandel was last seen alive by his girlfriend earlier that evening at the apartment they shared on Nobel Drive, as Sprandel was leaving to meet an acquaintance. At the time, Sprandel was carrying a large amount of money; however, the money was missing when his body was found.


Victim
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Victim: Andrew Moore

Date: September 9, 2000

Address: 1347 Eighth Avenue

Synopsis: Andy Moore was a chef at a local restaurant and a full-time student at San Diego City College. He was last seen alive on Saturday evening, September 9, 2000, inside his apartment at 1347 Eighth Avenue in the East Village. Moore was entertaining a group of visitors, two women and a man, whose identities are unknown. Several days later, Moore was found murdered inside his apartment. A set of expensive Russell culinary knives was missing from Moore's apartment. Also missing was Moore's red 1994 Suzuki Katana motorcycle. The motorcycle was recovered a month after the murder parked at 24th & 'C' Streets in Golden Hill. It is likely that the suspect(s) kept the motorcycle and continued to ride it for several weeks after the murder. Investigators want to identify and interview the man and two women who were visiting Moore's apartment on Saturday night. Investigator's also want to identify a black male and a white female, possibly driving a white Volkswagen Rabbit or similar white sub-compact car, who are persons of interest in the investigation.

There is a Governor's Reward of $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Andrew Moore.


Victim
Photo of Victim Josh Ayala

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Victim: Josh Ayala

Date: October 13, 2000

Address: 3030 30th Street

Synopsis: Joshua David Ayala, 19, was killed in front of an apartment building at 3030 30th Street on October 13, 2000, while talking with friends. SDPD Homicide detectives would like to interview anyone that has information about the incident and/or information about those responsible for the murder.

Last Updated August 2008

Victim
Photo of Victim Willie Hamilton Jr

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Victim: Willie Hamilton Jr, Age 48

Date: December 5, 2000

Address: 5000 Reynolds Street

Synopsis: On December 5, 2000 in the early evening 48-year-old Willie Hamilton was knocked to the ground and attacked by two males. Hamilton was kicked and beaten and sustained a closed head injury consistent with being hit with some type of blunt object. He died on April 1, 2001 as a result of his injuries. Hamilton had a history of mental illness but he was considered friendly and well-liked by neighbors. He was also well-known in his neighborhood because he ran a business of selling incense and pictures on street corners in the neighborhood.

Last Updated September 2011