Murders in Tri-Cities That Have Gone Unsolved
Here's a scenario that's not hard to visualize. You're home this weekend and the cold weather has kept you inside all day. With no plans worth pursuing, you relegate yourself to the couch and put the blanket on your lap. You decide it's a perfect atmosphere for some true crime. Netflix has done a great job over the years cultivating shows and miniseries that defy all expectations we have of real-life and media based on true events. Tiger King and Abducted in Plain Sight are perfect examples of reality being stranger than fiction.
Tri-Cities is no stranger to cold cases and unsolved murders. In 2014, 24 murder cases had still gone unsolved in our area. Just last year, a suspect pled guilty to the 1986 murder of Robert McDonald. Theodore Milam was sentenced to 18 and a half years in prison. Millam was also responsible for a long-unsolved rape case in Spokane County and is serving a ten-year sentence. Thankfully, this cold case had been solved but several mysteries still elude our local police departments.
In 2015, the Kennewick Police Department hired former Richland police chief Al Wehner to assist them as a special investigator. Wehner has been working on cases in Kennewick that go far back, like the 1978 disappearance of June Howard. Her husband was the prime suspect back then. He died 20 years ago, so while he can't be charged, Al and the rest of the investigators are pretty confident Steve Howard would have been guilty.
Pasco's second-most deadliest crime ever has been unsolved for 60 years. Four people were killed when a gunman fired into a house before getting away in a station wagon in 1960. I'm not sure what local authorities in Pasco could even do to solve this case all these years later.
I think when you read stories or watch documentaries or shows about unsolved murders, it's easy to forget that there are real people still suffering. I can't imagine what these families have gone through and still deal with to this day.
It's been over 23 years since 13-year-old Anna Pelayo was found shot to death just north of I-182 in Pasco. The latest update from that case was five years ago when an investigator from New York was asked to take a look. In Anna's case, as in many of the several unsolved Tri-Cities murders, investigators and authorities have had a good idea of who was responsible, but the matter of concrete evidence has been much more elusive. My heart goes to Anna's family and friends and the loved ones of all of the people taken from this world too soon.