We've been following the shooting death of 47-year-old Jeff Ahlers, of Tempe, fairly closely, and five months after he was shot, we still have no answer as to what happened.
Ahlers was first reported missing on June 1, and was found shot to death in a canal a few days later.
By all accounts, Ahlers was a happy guy, who had no reason to kill himself. In fact, several of his friends have gone out of their way to call us to say exactly that. They also stress the role religion played in his life, which they say makes the idea that he would kill himself even more unbelievable.
However, the Tempe Police Department still won't say -- five months after the fact -- whether Ahlers' death was a murder or a suicide. Meanwhile, his family and friends grieve with no answers. The department won't even say whether a gun was found at the scene of the shooting, which would only make sense if Ahlers had killed himself.
Yesterday, we spoke with Molly Enright, the spokeswoman for the Tempe Police Department. Enright says there are no new developments in the case and the report from the Medical Examiner's Office still isn't complete.
We called the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office and were told the report on Ahlers is being held up because they were still waiting on information from the detective on the case.
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A cop friend we spoke to today says there's no reason an ME's report should take any more than eight weeks to complete -- especially in a "simple gunshot case."
He says the detective in the case should have investigated things like whether Ahlers was depressed, whether he was in financial trouble, and spoken to his friends and family. We haven't spoken to the detective, but can only assume he's done all of those things. If so, what's the hold up?
The Tempe Police Department has come under fire for the huge spike in murders in the city this year -- and a growing list of murders that have gone unsolved. Ahlers name is not on that list because his death has not been ruled a murder. We're not saying the department is intentionally delaying classifying Ahlers' death as a murder for PR reasons, but skeptics have made those accusations.
All we know is it's been five months since Jeff Ahlers was pulled out of a canal with a bullet wound somewhere on his body, and we, Ahlers' friends and family, and apparently the Tempe Police Department, have no idea how it happened.