A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.
Tue, 27 Dec 2022 08:00
A raw look inside an unsolved case. Helping a family get answers would be the gift they need this new year.
I've never turned down an opportunity to keep what happens to him in the public's eye. Just be relentless, be on that corner every weekend, put flyers up if they got turned down, do interviews, do whatever I can think of. I wanted them to see my son because there's always a possibility that the right person could be listening. I've got Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anna Sige Nikolasi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation discoveries through conviction. And this is Anatomy of Murph. The holidays are recently behind us and will soon be ringing in the new year. And while most will be ringing in the new year with new resolutions, there are those families that still see the years pass with no resolution in a cold case homicide. And it's with them that my thoughts are with and with one particular family that we will be featuring today. You can tell by the title at this case is still unfortunately unsolved, but in that spirit of resolution, let's discuss it in hopes that in 2023, they will get that resolution they deserve. My name is Deborah Flores. I am a mother of two boys. Boy number one was Richard and boy number two was Aaron who was six years younger and Deborah had her hands full. My wardrobe became a pair of black pants in a referee shirt. I became a mom at a young age. And so it was a little bit difficult to learn the ropes, but it was definitely life changing. You know, I didn't grow up with brothers. I just had one, but it really sounds like what we read about so often. You know, there was that difficulty in that masculinity as they grew, but then that angst soon became a closeness that only brothers can share. They would hang out in the bedroom, laying on the floor, watching scary movies, and I can hear them upstairs, you know, screaming and just carrying on. And they had fun together. They had a lot of fun together. Aaron's full name is Aaron Anthony Bro. But everyone called him Anton. In April 2007, Anton was 19 years old. He had just graduated high school. He went to Washington in Fremont, California. And his sights were set on soon heading off to Job Corps in Utah. I had gotten some advice from the person who was working on getting him to the Job Corps. And he said to me, when it gets close to the time that your son is going to be leaving, we always tell the parents this, you know, try to keep your son focused on the fact that they're getting ready to leave. You know, not let them go out and, you know, run around with their friends. He goes, the reason I'm telling you this is because it never fails. Right before some of these kids get ready to leave, something happens. As we both know, 19-year-old is going to be a 19-year-old teen. You know, wanting to be with friends, especially when he knows he's going to be away for an extended time. It seems very natural. I just wanted him to stay home and spend time with me and family because we're not going to be able to see him for a while. I didn't tell him what the Job Corps person told me. I just told him that, you know, just hang out here for the next week or so. And he didn't like it because friends kept, I think, calling him and saying, hey, let's hang out. We're not going to, you know, be able to do this much longer. Over the next few weeks, Deborah did exactly that. But that piece of advice, now looking back, foreshadowed what she would face on April 29, 2007. It was a Sunday. He finally came out of his room. He said, mom, I'm going to go with my friends and we're just going to go play video games at the Friends House. And I said, I thought you were going to stay here and hang out with me. He said, mom, I live here. I have plenty of time to be with you. He said, I won't be gone that long. I'm just going to go for a little while. He goes, I can't stand being in the house in my room like this. I need to get some fresh air. I need to get outside and get some fresh air. So, I mean, there was nothing I can do. And it was later that night that Deborah got a call. And I just remember being in the kitchen. It was one of my son's friends. And they said, I think you better come outside. I think someone just shot Aaron. I just dropped the phone and I ran into my boyfriend and I said, someone just called here and said to go outside because somebody shot him. And I ran. I ran towards the door. We didn't know what had been going on outside. We didn't know if there was any danger out there still. I didn't care. I just wanted to get to my son. I can't believe what I was seeing. It was just lights and sirens everywhere. Fire trucks, ambulance. The street was blocked off. There was crime scene taped, tied around everything. All the neighbors were outside. There were police walking the streets with flashlight. So, this is a really active crime scene. One of the busiest intersections in the city of Fremont. Police are trying to maintain the crime scene, grabbing as many potential eyewitnesses as possible to get any fresh information. What did they see? What did they hear? And at this point police only knew they had a shooting victim, but nothing on a potential shooter or shooters. So you have police, investigators, onlookers, and they're all in front of this apartment complex that is just swarming. But the one person that wasn't amongst them was Anton. They wouldn't tell me anything. Where they took my son not knowing if he was even alive. I tried not to think of the worst only because I just couldn't process if that was the truth. I was just in shock. Have you ever seen the Charlie Brown cartoon on TV at Christmas time? The voice, it's not even words, it's just sound. That's what I heard. You know, in the way that Deborah is describing this, we've talked about this almost out of body experience before here on AOM. And I even think some have used the exact same analogy. There's a state of being that happens for some people either witnessing or learning of a traumatic event. It's known as tracks or trauma-related disassociation in altered states of consciousness. It is sometimes described as a mental escape when a physical escape is not possible or when a person is so emotionally overwhelmed that they cannot cope any longer. And sometimes disassociation is like switching off. Some survivors describe it as a way of saying this isn't happening to me. And in certain ways, I've always likened it to this fight or flight response. You know, you're there, it's happening, but your mind can't process it. So it really goes and is distracted by other things. Thing around me was just spinning really fast. I didn't feel anything, I was numb, almost too much for one person to even bear, because it's the most tragic, just horrific thing that can happen to a parent. It's not supposed to happen. We often talk about the investigative method of victimology, which is the process of getting as much information about your victim in order to develop potential theories. Where were they in their life when the murder occurred? Who are they associating with? And what issues can you identify that may have led to this event? Obviously, just like in this case, the family would be the best source of information, and that is exactly where investigators began first. They had us go to the police station because they wanted to question us to see if they could find out if we knew why this would have happened. They asked, you know, what we did that day, where he was during the day, whose friends were. I had given them every neighbor, every kid that I thought he ever knew. And their phone numbers, by the time they were even asking me for it, I wanted them to hurry up and do their job. After we were there for about several hours, they finally let us go. And so as Deborah and her boyfriend are at the precinct and answering every question that's being put to them, obviously in Deborah's mind, she is just clinging to that hope that her son, who's in the hospital, remember, is still alive. I thought to myself that a lot of people get shot, you know, and survive. So why should my son be any different? As Deborah was getting ready to leave, a detective did approach her who said he did in fact have information for her, but it was more than she could handle. One of the detectives told me that my son had died, and I just lost control of everything. He just said it. I wanted out of there. I said, let me out of here. Just let me out of here. I was so angry that I had been stuck there all that time while my son was in the hospital. And I had no idea when it had happened, was he still alive? When he got to the hospital, I don't know. Nobody's answering any of these questions for me. So I just collapsed. I couldn't walk. I couldn't say anything, but sit there on the ground. I couldn't even get up. They all helped me up with my boyfriend. My dad and my best friend. So Deborah and her boyfriend make their way to the hospital as quickly as humanly possible. And when they get there, Deborah knows right where to go because she actually worked at the hospital. So she not only knows the layout, but she knows exactly what happens in a situation like this. But this time she's on the other side of the counter. When you first walk in, there's a room off to the side. And they call it the quiet room. And that's where they put family members until the doctor comes to tell them that their loved one died. And it keeps them separate from the public in the waiting room. You can't really hear them crying. So when we got to the hospital, we walked in. One of my coworkers came around to just stand there. You know, she hugged me and then cut me in that quiet room. And of course, they say, well, it's for your own privacy. But I knew I knew what it was for. I worked there. She knows all too well what it means when they're led in that room and told to wait. I don't know what came over me, but when it's that door opened and the doctor walked in, I already knew because of the room I was sitting in. And I can see on it everyone's face when I walked in because I know them all. Anybody who's ever worked in this capacity, someone responsible to make notifications to family members will say it is the absolute worst part of the job. Even later in my career, I remember responding as a street reporter to a crime scene when a family member showed up only to learn that a loved one had been killed. Seeing that now as an outsider gave me an entirely new perspective of those notifications. The doctor confirmed it. He told me that he had been shot. And basically he died from blood loss. He went to death. And I was so angry at him. I just remember yelling at him. You know, why didn't she save my son? Why didn't you give him more blood? Why didn't you take him to surgery? Why didn't you save my son? One of the nurses came in and she asked me if I wanted to see my son. And I said, of course I wanted to see my son. I started to prepare myself. But somebody stopped me and said, are you sure you want to go in there? And I was confused. Why would I? Why wouldn't I want to go in there? And apparently it was because of their efforts. There's sometimes, you know, things they have to do to try to save someone's life. And once you do that, I don't know how to say this other than to just say it, but you can't put them back together. So they made me stand there for a few minutes and think about it. I wanted to just stand here for a few minutes and think about it. If you still want to go in, I'll take you in. Think about where you're at and what they probably had to do to try to save them. And is that the last vision you want of your son to stay with you for the rest of your life? It wasn't. So sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice. Even the thought of having to make that choice is just so devastating. You know, but I absolutely respect the fact that she gave it that much thought and wanted to do what was right moving on. And the world that Deborah is facing from that moment on, you can really just describe it with one word. It is dark because her youngest has been taken by homicide. But on top of that, there's just this anger within her from being held back for those hours answering questions by the detectives while her son was in the hospital possibly dying. And then there's this stark realization. It wasn't just Deborah who was at a loss for answers. Investigators were in the very same place. They were just in the dark as we were because nobody had a clue who did this to my son. We've talked about the concept of victimology obviously many times before, but that's because that is so important in every investigation. And that's going to be clear here too. Because it's where the place that a person's death and that person's life really intersects that really provides a roadmap to investigators whether they're trying to figure out motive or even find the killer. Until this point, we know Anton was 19 heading to the jobs corps and he had an older brother. But to potentially unravel more clues about his death, let's take a look into Anton's life. When Anton was little, he was so mellow and so quiet. I never had to worry that he was getting into anything. For pretty much all of Anton's entire life, he was never known to get into any sort of trouble, except for one time in school. One day, I go to pick him up from school and the teacher says to me, you might want to have a talk with Aaron, they called him Aaron, because he came to school today with his pants on backwards. You know, what's the reason that this kind of earners coming to school with his pants on backwards? There used to be this group. I don't know if you've ever heard of them, but they're called Chris Cross. He loved them. And their gimmick was they were their pants backwards. Many of you will not have any idea what this is all about. It was a group called Chris Cross, and it's because the two guys who are this young hip-hop duo, I think they were like 12 and 13 years old when they had their first big hit, Jump Jump, which of course has been going through my head since I first heard them talking about this. And their signature was that they would wear their pants backwards. And again, they just did it one day for fun when they're trying to figure out how they could stand out, but it became a thing. She said, I have never in all my years of being a kid about a teacher, I have never seen a child do that. And Debra describes her son from the time he was very young as an old soul. He was this quiet kid who preferred the company of adults than often to his peers. He liked old music, old cars, old clothes, and I don't mean retro type clothes. I mean, suit suits and shiny shoes. But there was one thing that Debra was always curious about. Anton had a particular affinity for toothbrushes. So she was always asking me, Mom, do we have any toothbrushes? I need a toothbrush, but he used an electric toothbrush. And I thought, what is he using these toothbrushes for? At first I was like, okay, he's using them for something. He's cleaning something, he's building something, but it was just such this odd thing that he's always just asking his mom for a new toothbrush. So he would clean all of his shoes with a toothbrush. He had this thing about always looking crisp and clean and just always looking nice. If that's my biggest worry, then he can have as many toothbrushes as he wants. I call it, he was completely buttoned up, right? Someone who was sharp, someone who knew what it took to make a statement. And then of course excited about his hobby. I mean, Anton had, maybe let's just call it a passion, a passion for cars. That was his thing. His uncle owns a shop, they install hydraulics and things like that. But he would sit in his room and work on car models. And this hobby was going to guide him into what he decided would be his future career. He wanted to be a mechanic. And so since he wanted that to be his career, he was working towards that and that's why he decided to start job core in Utah. In the beginning of a homicide investigation, the key is narrowing or eliminating possible motives. Was there a sign of robbery? No, then you move on. Was he having some type of ongoing issue with a co-worker or a friend? Is it about love? Is it about money? Or could it just be a random crime? One of those wrong place at the wrong time, type crimes? There was nothing about him that would seem to compromise him in any way. Everything is on the table until it's not. Vestigators would begin to look at Anton's plans the night of his murder. The night of his murder, he was getting together with a bunch of his friends and they were going to hang out one last time that they might all be able to get together at the same time and just hang out at one of the kids house and play video games and just, you know, goof around at the house. Nothing spectacular, just they wanted to just hang out with each other. Once you through all the interviews and through your victimology, you have to start thinking about what other avenues can you go down investigatively to determine what happened on that night. And you have to look at the area, you have to look at, you know, is it a well-known drug area? Is it a well-known gang area? Could he been mistaken for a potential gang member? I'd never heard any of this stuff before. Where were these people getting this from? Were they just making it up? Were they just curious? But it made me think, if they are thinking that, how many more people are thinking that about my son? And Debrose's reaction to them was visceral. No, not my son. And her reason was twofold one. Everything she knew about Anton, none of those things held true or possibilities for him. But that she was also worried that if this is what people were hypothesizing or talking about in the community, that that might also impact the detectives. And if they thought these things about her son, would they maybe not work as hard to find out what happened and cost his death? I mean, let me say this right here. I understand why she may be thinking that and I can't speak for every person that's in a position to make those decisions as investigators. But is it possible? Of course, anything is possible. It is. It's a valid concern, right? Because while I have certainly dealt with my share of these types of cases, and when I say these types, I mean that were gang related or drug related or things like that, and I've seen detectives work as hard on those for sure as any other case. But I've also seen it go the other way too, right? I mean, that they, for some reason, the result isn't the same. It isn't the case that are going to choose to put on the top of the pile. So for Deborah, she just wanted to make sure that there was nothing that was going to unfairly distract them or dissuade them for trying to figure this out. Deborah wanted the detective to get to know and tone. And I think it's important to picture your mind her next move. So I called the detective. I hadn't come over the detectives that came over. I mean, they've sit in my living room for several hours while they watched whole movies of my son when he was four years old, laughing, dancing. I mean, they watch it all over and over. And I told them, I said, this is my son that I want you to see. And this is how I want you to think of my son. I told them I said, I'm hearing all these crazy things that people think my son was into that he wasn't. So if they're thinking that anybody could be thinking that including you, I told them, and I want you to think of my son that way because then you won't work as hard. You know, I've never heard of a parent doing that before with investigators, at least not like that. You know, just hearing her talk about it, it was just so incredibly powerful. I can say like I was stunned by sadness. I heart this. I respect this. Deborah was fighting for her son, wanting the investigators to get the clearest picture of really who and tone was. And they just looked at me. They said we've never had anyone do this before. And it really showed by what she saw at the very next morning, those same detectives were out on the block knocking on doors, speaking to people in the street. Were they planning to do that anyway the next day? Maybe. Or was it maybe that when they got up that morning, they remembered those home videos and they're like, we're getting out there right now. And I think it was a great opportunity to get working on this case. And Deborah wanted to be in full lockstep with those investigators. So as recap, Anton was murdered between 8 and 9 pm. That's not the middle of the night. It was April, sunset that day was just a few minutes before 8 pm. And he was shot, remember, in front of his apartment complex, not in some remote quiet area. So there's a strong possibility that there were people out there, which means that there were and our witnesses. But here's the problem that Deborah was facing. In a 2018 Washington Post article talks about the phenomenon called pockets of impunity. And the reasons why some cold cases don't get solved. And it boils down to a lack of community cooperation. I was a little angry towards some of my neighbors. And I couldn't imagine with that many people that no one saw or heard anything. With no answers and no witnesses forthcoming at least to the police, Deborah decided to take matters into her own hands in the best way she could. So she and friends and family members, they literally took to the streets. It wasn't just with flyers. And yes, they did that to posting them on street lights and mailboxes and wherever they could. But they literally stood out there with signs. And dozens and dozens and dozens of signs. And we put them on sticks and we stood out there from early in the morning until dark. Just holding up these signs with the hotline for the police department or anonymous number they can call if they had any information. I have been involved in cases where we've distributed hundreds of flyers near or close to where a homicide had occurred. And there's a method on how you do it. It's not just plastering the area to get coverage. It's when you make a personal connection to someone that may have seen something and you go to an intersection where the shooting occurred. And you return to that intersection at the very same time of day, maybe even the same day of the week to hand those flyers out. And here's the reason why. People normally commute, leave to go to work and go home the same time of day. And usually they take the same route. So it's important that if they saw something and it didn't realize it was important that the flyer can spark action. And there is somebody a member law enforcement or anybody family member who's handing that out. And there's a personal connection and they know it is a real issue. And just one thing, one word, one sentence. Really? Could solve a cold case. But investigators got nowhere. Just more dead ends. Silence. Another cold case. And the case would go cold for years until Deborah got news that would breathe new life into this investigation. So one day the phone rings. And my boyfriend had answered the phone and he comes running upstairs with the phone. And it was detected blast. My name is Detective Jacob Glass. I work with the Fremont Police Department's cold case homicide unit. Before we hear from the cold case detective who works on this case, which is Detective Jacob Glass. And trust me, he does have keen insight on Anton's case, including new information that we haven't yet told you about. But again, we want to remind you it's an open investigation. And our goal here in AOM is of course always honoring the victim and telling their story. But also in this type of case, it's to get the word out. So here's the basic information for you to remember. This homicide occurred April 29th, 2007 around 853 at night. It was within the area of Fremont Boulevard, Marri Avenue, and then also Bell Street. We're posting the flyer on our blog and a photo of the apartment sign that was off of Bell Street where the incident occurred. Remember April 29th, 2007, so 853 at night, right in that general area of anybody saw anything, heard anything, talked to someone in jail, prison on the street, friends, whatever, and has some kind of information pertaining to this case. We just want them to come forward and let us know. We'll meet with them. We'll set up a location for us to meet up to talk about the case openly freely and whatever we can do to get this case solved. If you have information whether right now as you're hearing it or later on by the end or at any time at all, you can call the Fremont Police Department at 510-790-6900 or the Silent Witness Hotline at 510-494-4856. So one day, the phone rings, and it was detected blast. And he told me that there was a new Cold Case Department that he now worked there. His voice was very soothing, like he knew what he was doing. So I listened to him and I thought, okay, I've heard all this before. Oh, we're going to find them, we're going to catch whoever did this. But there was something different about him. He said to me that this is my job now. He said, I plan on staying here. I don't plan on leaving here. And I won't stop working on your son's case until we catch you did this. But the former coming a member of the Fremont Police, Jacob had very different ambitions. He worked in construction, but he tells us it was the events of September 11 that convinced him that he wanted to do more and find ways to best utilize his skills to help others. I applied for the FBI. At the time, they were only asking for people that spoke different languages or could do like CPA type financial work. Of course, all FBI investigators are not what you see on TV. And you need the people that are sitting behind the desk or working on the computer screens, the accountants that know how to crunch the numbers. But it wasn't exactly what he'd envisioned when he decided to sign up. I was hoping I could actually find out who did the whole 9-11 and go after a song and been loud and kind of thing. But apparently I didn't have enough that background in schooling for that at that time. Even though Jacob was working on this case years later, he actually was involved in the case on day one. I actually got involved in it back in 2007 because I was actually in field training with my training officer. And we were doing a special operation and we heard this case come out as a possible homicide. But here's something interesting. The call didn't come in as a suspicious death or even a shooting. We get this back to a lot of what we call 10-53 calls or person down calls. Say someone was hit by a car or someone was intoxicated and they passed out or they fell off their bike. So we'll respond out just to check on that person, make sure no one's hurt, no one's down, anything to that extent. So now that we know that a shot was fired, some of our listeners may be saying, why didn't anybody call? But I look at this as a busy intersection, construction noises, cars backfiring, fireworks. I mean to me there's so many reasons why in a commercial area like this, people just go on with the business of what they're doing and may not even think about calling. How about you? Well yes, of course people hear gunshots and of course at times you know exactly what it is. But you don't always. And for those of you that haven't heard them, they can sound like other things. They can just sound like pop pop pop. They can sound like firecrackers. Sometimes it just gets lost in that city scape noise and it sounds like at least for most. That's what happened here. So when the officers were dispatched out of that night, they were attempting to locate this down subject. They found him lying along the street side area and we're just checking on to make sure if this person was okay. He was unresponsive, but you know it's dark at night and dimly lit area at nighttime. He was wearing some layers and there was not a lot of blood anywhere on the ground. And so when the officer first arrived on scene, he thought maybe this person just may have tripped me falling. He could have been intoxicated. There is another tragic element in this case. And while it may not have been intentional, it's possible. It could have made a difference. And here's what I mean. We do not know the timeline of when the exact shot was fired, but we do know when the 911 call came in to report a man who was unresponsive lying in the street. So was it five minutes, ten minutes, thirty minutes prior to police responding? Could that have made a difference in saving Anton's life? If the call had been made in the moments after he was shot, Anasega, that could have made a difference. And also just think of what it was called in for, right? A person unconscious on the ground. This is a city. They are very busy being EMTs and investigators. So are they getting out there in seconds or minutes like when they hear that there are like you said, Scott shot fired or someone down a result of some violence? Or is it again, not taking their time? Maybe it's the wrong way to put it, but that those critical moments may have been lost by what the caller knew or didn't know when they placed that call. That area right there is a busy street thoroughfare. I mean, you're coming off the freeway a few streets up. I mean, of a ways, but that general area is a busy intersection. So you can hear car crashes there, horns honking, you can hear a whole lot of stuff. Personally, I think there are people that were probably out on the street, saw what happened, and then ran, and then we never either found them. Or they just didn't want to come forward. But here is a fact that investigators do know. They determine that the shooting did occur when Anton was just waiting to be picked up from that intersection. He was really doing nothing but simply hanging out and talking to friends before that Frank could get there. Someone either drive by or walked up on him, a cost of them and shot killed. And so now that Jacob takes over the role as cold case investigator tasked with this case, he now on his own is going to start by looking deeply into Anton and who he was. He didn't have any kind of gang relation. There was nothing that led us to believe that anybody was out to get him. He just seemed like a real good kid that was at the wrong place at the wrong time, essentially. Early on, some tips did come in, but they were kind of very general. Like someone heard that Anton was having a problem with this guy or someone was having a problem with Anton. But every road those tips led down came up empty. And so there is nothing in Anton's life that is pointing to a motive for murder. So if it isn't about the person, you have to start to look more closely at the place. This particular area in Fremont, I would designated even as a gang area. I just know that you have a location that you could drive by one of the main thoroughfares and you can look over and see some up there wearing a the wrong color. Someone on the street saw that they might redirect and try to, you know, jam somebody up or confront them. Now, let's remember the time that we're talking. We're talking earlier in the 2000s. And so during that time period from 2007 to 2011, the FBI estimated that approximately 13% of all homicides annually were gang related. And that was throughout the US. When it comes to gangs and communities, the word turf is always used. A city's dividing line where gangs claim that territory and defend it with deadly violence. In the city of Fremont, two rival gangs split the city, though at Norton, you know, referring to Northern California. And their biggest rivals, the serenios from Southern California, is a dividing line between them and the gang's membership consists primarily of Mexican Americans. And so the Northerners would usually wear like the red colors and then the Southerners would usually be wearing around blue. Back in the day, if you talk to someone that was a Norton, you'll at that time, it'd be hard press to get any kind of information saying they were part of a gang. Back in the day, though, if you talk to a serenio or a southerner, they would be all proud about it. Say, yeah, I belong to the Southern gang. I'm serenio from LA. I came up here. This is where I live. So they'd be very apparent in front with you and be honest with you. So is there any credence to the fact that Antone may have been shot in some gang-related incident or potentially was he misidied at the time of his murder? He was wearing dark color jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, but nothing in the description displayed any type of gang colors that may have been misidentified. And again, you know, whether it is gang-related or not, we hear about cases of mistaken ID all the time. You know, remember we featured one recently on AOM, Elliott Dickerson, wrong place, wrong time. They thought he was someone that had been in a fight. He wasn't so again, not gang-related, but mistaken ID. You know, the unfortunate thing with these gang rivalries is they really just take this violence to the street at times with no regard about the others, the innocence that get caught up in their mail-as. I mean, you'd be surprised throughout the United States how many people are just innocent bystanders that just happen to be in the wrong place like they didn't know this was a gang area. Now, here's a piece of information that adds more credence to theory that Antone was innocently caught up in the crosshairs of maybe some sort of gang violence, and it has to do with another homicide. We had already had a homicide at January 25th, 2007 that we believe was most likely a gang-related homicide. So when this one came out in April, we thought possibly it could be gang-related. The other murder, which is an open investigation as well, happened just three months earlier and was only about four to five miles away from the location that Antone was murdered. We had an individual who was believed to have been associated possibly to a Southern or Serenio gang, and it was believed that he possibly was being chased down, and he was attacked by, we believe, possibly some Nortonio gang members, just because he was in the wrong area at the wrong time. He was struck in the head with an object and he later died at the hospital. Any homicide can create fear in a community and fear of retaliation, but I think when it comes to the potential for it being perpetrated by gangs, there's even more of that. You don't want to be involved because you fear for your own life. You fear that retaliation, and it's true it is a real issue, and it's a very difficult wall for law enforcement to climb to get people to cooperate who have that fear. I mean, have us a lot of cases where you might have that perfect witness that was there present and saw exactly what happened, but because they think there's going to be retaliation or someone coming after them, they want nothing to do with this thing and they just never come forward. And that's why pushing this back out to the press to you guys, to everybody that they can see and go, okay, yeah, I was there. You know, I want to help now. I want to be part of this. I want to help this thing out because I should have done that at that time and I just didn't. So knowing all these truths, one of the early things that Jacob did was try to incentivize people to come forward. And here's what he did. For decades, law enforcement has turned to reward funds. I was able to submit that to the governor's office and Kevin Ducin's office approved it and I got a $50,000 reward for that. With that run the family, they had people that supported saying, hey, we'll put up money to cover whatever additional expenses that someone wants to bring to bump up their reward. And that reward today is up to $60,000. And here's why shining a spotlight on this case or any case like it just might help the investigation. It is because through this podcast and through you hitting play on your phone or wherever you listen to your podcast, it has reach. It has reach for people who may never have heard about this case before or didn't know Anton's name to now know it and to maybe know how if they know something, they can help. And whenever Adesee and I and our AOM team have the opportunity to highlight a case that can make a difference, it's a real interest to us. And we hope it's an interest to all of you because somebody knows something. Imagine if this can go in front of millions of people in other parts of the states, the country will say someone's in the military now and they lived in that area at the time. And now they're across the season, they love listening to your podcast. This could draw up something where they're like, hey, I know something that, let me relay this to my family or friends or get it back to the police department. Maybe they'll be able to relay a good tip for us to solve this case. Even people that are in jail that might be playing podcast blue or not. If they have a way to listen to it, they'll listen to a jail and they hear different things and they like cold cases just as much as some of these other people just because they want to figure out how to not get arrested for something later on. I literally cracked up when he actually went as far as to say that people in prisons, maybe they have information and of course that's true. Well, I don't know that ever actually thought to myself about people that are incarcerated listening to podcasts, I mean, it makes perfect sense, right? They have a lot of time on their hands and they have access to computers, which are authorized in law libraries and I don't know how that works with what they can watch or what they can listen to necessarily. But it also is not uncommon to hear about cell phones being smuggled in. So people do have a lot of access even when they're inside of prisons and jails. But if they have information, I'm sure Jacob and the Fremont police department would take that collect call. There is a $60,000 reward for any information, anything that leads to the arrest identification and prosecution this person. And we're willing to go ahead with this and follow up with whatever leads we get until we find out who did this to Anthony as well as to his family. You know, we're talking about this case and whether we're going to profile it at all. It doesn't necessarily have all the various legs or twists that were able to give you on others, but that's exactly why we chose to talk about it today. Because this case, while it needs to be solved for Anton and his family, it represents so many that are out there. And what better platform do we have then to try to get the word out on those two to all of you, our AOM community, who have showed that you are like-minded and care as much about these cases and the people impacted as we do. We're in the middle of the holidays. We are around families and friends spending time with old connections and forging new ones. And during that time, you should talk about this case. Talk about Anton. Remembering him for the kid who would clean his shoes with toothbrushes and his love for cars. Let's see if those conversations sparks new leads and new information. And if you have information, you can call the Fremont Police Department at 510-790-6900 or the Silent Witness Hotline at 510-494-4856. It's heartbreaking. I find myself tearing up whenever I talk to her just because she's such a great person. This shouldn't have happened to her and her family at all. It was so important for us to hear from Deborah because every word she had to say about Anton brings him back to life, for us in many ways. And there was one story she said about her son that we just felt was appropriate to end with during this holiday time. It was Christmas time. We had gone to the mall. He was about four years old and back then they were selling these action figures and the kids all were crazy over them. You could hardly find them in the store and you could get out of the way you list. So we get the toy. Before we even got out of the store, he already had it out of the bag and was ear to ear. So my mother's face, he was so happy. We walked out and there was a Marine standing there and he was very tall. There was a Toys for Tots, barrel right next to the Marine. He said, Mom, how come there's an army guy standing in front of the toy store? I said, it's Christmas time. So a lot of kids aren't as fortunate as you. They don't receive a lot of toys or presents for Christmas. So people put toys in the barrel. They get delivered to kids that don't have anything. He stops. And I said, what's wrong? Come on. He looked at me and he turned around and he started running. So I went after him and he ran back to the toy store and he had this toy. It is tiny little hands that he had waited so long for and he threw it in the barrel. And then he turned around and ran back to me. And I said, what are you doing? He said, it's okay, Mom. I wanted to give it to a kid that doesn't have anything. That's the person I wanted everybody to. Because he still had that with somebody to give us. He still had that. Tune in next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and Forced City Media. Ashley Flowers and Sumit David are executive producers. What do you think Chuck? Do you approve?