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Voice of the Victims: EPPD’s cold case detectives working to solve 2008 murder

EPPD cold cases .jpg

The El Paso Police Department’s cold case unit is opening up its case files and asking for your help with unsolved crimes.

The detectives are sharing their work with chief investigative reporter Genevieve Curtis.

These days, a cold case is solved in a 60-minute TV show. But it’s not that simple for El Paso's cold case unit, which is currently working 90 cases.

Even with advancements in technology, the unit still relies on your help to crack a case.

“We are the voice of the victim,” said Detective David Camacho.

The cold cases in the city of EL Paso sit on the desks of Detectives David Camacho and Michael Amen.

They work to get justice for victims, long after their stories have faded from the headlines.

“It’s a lot of going through old reports,” said Camacho.

Those cases include homicides and missing persons.

“We are still working your case. Your case is not collecting dust,” said Camacho.

They keep in touch with family members and make it a point to call them on anniversaries, even when there isn't anything new to share.

“That can be very frustrating on a family and we understand that. That’s why we have to be very transparent with a family and not giving false hope,” said Camacho.

The detectives are also responsible for investigating major cases, such as active homicides and officer-involved shootings.

In some cases, new technology can lead to a break in the cold cases. DNA matching, phone records and social media, may not have been available at the time the crime happened.

“Policing has evolved and so have we,” said Camacho.

Camacho said TV shows have changed expectations for solving crimes.

“Victims’ families bring it up, the easiest way to describe it would be'the CSI effect,'” said Camacho.

These days, Hollywood’s investigators can get lab results back in 20 minutes.

“It would be pretty awesome,” said Camacho.

And on the TV, they arrest the bad guy before dinner.

“It raises expectations so much. People think that is reality, when it is not,” said Camacho.

The reality is, it can take months to get DNA results back from the crime lab in Austin.

“We stand in line with other agencies from all over the state,” said Camacho.

Here's a case Camacho believes can still be solved: It’s a 2008 murder in the Lower Valley.

“There is somebody out there that knows something,” said Camacho.

Detectives said that, on June 9, 2008, Javier Vallejo was driving in the 7100 block of Stiles Street when he pulled over to talk to his brother and his brother’s friend.

That’s when, detectives say, a Ford F-150 pulled up behind Vallejo

Three people in the truck assaulted the men and took off with Vallejo’s keys.

“They grab Javier and hit (him) with the butt of the gun on the top of the head,” said Camacho.

Vallejo later died from his injuries.

Leads turned cold.

“It was tough. That’s why we are sitting here 10 years later,” said Camacho.

Camacho believes the case could still be closed if someone comes forward.

“This has two living witnesses that I feel know more. It might lead us to something positive and closure for the family,” said Camacho.

If you have any information on anything leading up to the robbery and assault of Javier Vallejo, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 915-566-8477.

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