One year ago today, somebody burst into a Glendale apartment, shot Jose Sanchez, and left his body for his family to find.
His killer or killers were never caught.
Friday, Sanchez's family, led by tearful widow Kellie Sanchez, begged witnesses to come forward and warned the rest of the world that it could be them facing television cameras in a police station, making the same pleas.
“If you think this can’t happen to your family, you’re wrong,” Kellie Sanchez said.
Then she held up a photo from of her wedding in San Jose, California, 27 years before death parted the couple, wiped away tears, and described the man she grew up with.
“He worked to spoil us,” Sanchez said.
Her family told the world what Facebook pages and memorial sites have reported for years. Jose Sanchez was born in Mexico, became a trucker and lived for his family. He was 47 the afternoon he was getting ready to make the run to LA and back, a route he chose so he could be home every day.
“His favorite thing to do was watch movies with his son and eat popcorn, go eat tacos with his kids, and take his wife on the road with him so they could enjoy the night at the casino,” one memorial page said.
In many ways, Sanchez's slaying at the Cedar Creek Condominiums at 5039 North 57th Avenue, near Camelback Road, was unusual for an unsolved murder.
Not every victim is always a loving father and husband with a steady job.
And not every stalled homicide case has witnesses, let alone the surveillance footage the Glendale Police Department released in the days after the crime.
Many cases don’t have any description of a suspect.
The Sanchez case has all of the above. The family, and detectives, are hoping a timely reminder may prod someone to come forward and connect the known dots, fill in some gaps, maybe generate new clues.
More than many, the Sanchez case is solvable.
This is what police know:
Witnesses reported seeing four Hispanic men flee the well-kept stucco apartment complex in a white Dodge Avenger with black top and rims shortly before 3 p.m. The report was confirmed by surveillance footage.
Police said the suspects were seen in other cars: a blue Chrysler 200 and a silver Dodge Charger, according to initial reports at the time.
Police described four men as suspects, all wearing hats and sunglasses. One was described as 28, about 5-feet, 9-inches tall, weighing around 160 pounds. The second suspect was listed as taller, about 6-foot-2, heavier at 210 pounds and likely older, between 29 and 34 years old. He had a long beard. The other two descriptions were more generic: 5-foot, 10-inches tall, about 180 pounds, with no age estimates.
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But investigators still lack the full picture they need to make an arrest.
As young children in her family played with toys and her 16-year-old son, Jose, Jr., contemplated entering a career in law enforcement, Kellie Sanchez made the point to broadcast crews.
“We need your help now,” she said. “Any little piece of information is important now.”
Her husband, she said, “deserves justice.”