2017 Yakima murder cases remain unsolved; victims' families clin - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

2017 Yakima murder cases remain unsolved; victims' families cling to hope

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YAKIMA, WA - The First 48 and Forensic Files - two True Crime TV shows centered around how important the first few days after a homicide are for police. More times than not, this is when suspects are at the very least identified. At the most, they are arrested and charged for their crimes. But what happens as days, weeks, and months go by?

In 2017, Yakima Police were called to investigate the deaths of 12 people, including Francisco Tinajero. He was found shot to death in his car at Sarg Hubbard Park. More than a year later, his killer still hasn't been found.

"Anytime you have an unsolved case that's gone on for a number of months, obviously it would be a difficult case," said Captain Jeff Schneider with the Yakima Police Department.

Eight other homicides that happened last year in Yakima are also difficult cases. Only three suspects have been arrested by police.

"Within the first few days, first week, you're going to gather really all the evidence there is to gather. So there's not going to be anything new - most typically - that occurs a month, or two months, or five months later," Capt. Schneider said.

Evidence is only part of the puzzle. YPD says at least half of last year's homicides were gang related, which creates a whole new set of challenges for investigators.

"It makes it much more difficult because they typically don't want to cooperate with police. They will typically want to take care of it themselves. And one homicide can lead to additional homicides for retaliations."

The death of Vikram Jaryal shocked a lot of people in the Yakima Valley. He was shot and killed while working at the AM-PM in downtown Yakima after handing over cash to two people wearing masks. Both suspects haven't been caught.

"Most likely the people that have information at this point are not some good citizen who was driving by, but more than likely an accomplice or someone related to the suspect," Capt. Schneider explained.

But despite no break in that case or the 8 other homicides, Yakima PD are still hard at work and the victims' families are clinging to hope, but both of them are looking for justice.

"As things get colder and colder, as there's less to investigate, there's just much less to inform the families of. Even when we are making some progress, many times we can't tell the family about it."

YPD knows that tips coming in about any of the 9 unsolved homicides from last year in Yakima are pretty unlikely, but if you do have any information you're encouraged to call the Criminal Investigations Unit at 575-6212.