Gang ties keeping city homicides in cold case folder

Silence is aggravating, but it isn’t a new obstacle for homicide detectives who had dealings with several uncooperative witnesses last year, says Staff Sgt. Lorne Pubantz.



"We often find people we know are witnesses at events, where we know they are in the same car as the victim, and they often decline to give us statements," he said.



Such was the case last month when a woman refused to speak with police after driving former Newfoundland resident Erin Anne Tilley to the emergency room, suffering from gunshot wounds. She later died in hospital and police believe the incident was gang-related with another vehicle in the west end.

Police don’t believe Tilley was an intended target and the case is still an open investigation.

Edmonton recorded 33 homicides in 2007 with 13 of them resulting in charges — but over 20 murder cases still remain unsolved. At least a third of those cases are related to the drug trade, police say.

"This is certainly an issue that has been prevalent for a number of years in Edmonton," said Pubantz.