UNSOLVED: Tucson families hope for answers in homicide cases

Updated: Aug. 2, 2018 at 10:35 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now/AP) - It's a reality for dozens of families in Tucson.  Losing a loved one to violence, with no answers to who did it, or why.

"Somebody out there knows something, you know?  But they haven't come forward and they should," said Tovar Salazar.

Salazar's son, Tomas Tovar, was shot and killed in a parking lot on Campbell and Irvington, four years ago.  

"I thought, you know, somebody will come forward, somebody out there knows what's going on," said Salazar.  "And then, as the time passed and nobody's saying anything, you know, this is where we are at.  We are in the middle of nowhere, basically."

We looked through data from more than 400 reported homicide cases investigated by the Tucson Police Department, from 2010 to June 7 of this year.

Of the 418 reported cases, this is what we found:

  • 196 investigations resulted in an arrest.
  • 109 cases are unsolved.
  • Warrants have been issued in six cases, yet no arrest as been made.
  • 91 resulted in an an "exceptional" disposition, which means detectives may have solved the case, but an arrest was not made or possible due to circumstances out of the law enforcement agency's control.
    • Sgt. Pete Dugan, Public Information Officer for TPD, said an example would be a suspect passing away prior to an arrest warrant being issued.
  • 37 of the 91 "exceptional" cases were officer-involved shootings.
  • 13 cases were solved, but the charges were refused by the Pima County Attorney's Office.

"We miss Zach a lot, everyday," said Zach's mother, Ann Corbut.  "Not a day goes by that this gets any easier."

Zach Corbut was shot several times in 2015 during a home invasion off Grant Road in Midtown.  Police said his roommate was pistol whipped and the suspects got away.

Ann traveled from Texas after her son's murder and handed out thousands of fliers, seeking the public's help in the case.  She also had billboards posted, asking for information that could help track down her son's killer.

"My hope is one day, somebody will talk and tell a story and that will provide some information in solving the case," said Corbut.

A Washington Post investigation into national homicide arrest data has identified the places in dozens of American cities where murder is common but arrests are rare. The project first launched in June with 50 cities, but has since added five more to its database including Tucson.

The interactive database tracks where and when crimes were committed, as well as the outcome from the case.

The Post found both the number of homicides and the arrest rate decreased over the last eight years.

"I don't know here is heaven, but he's there," said Salazar.  "I'm not giving up, somebody knows, somebody will come."

There are active rewards for information that leads to an arrest in both cases.

If you have any information in these two cases, or other crimes that have been committed in Tucson, you are urged to call 88-CRIME.  All calls can be anonymous.

Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.