CBS47 Investigation: Tulare Co. deputies, family hoping for tip in cold case murder of Juan Rios

CBS47 Investigates

TULARE COUNTY, California (KGPE) – After nearly five years, a Tulare County family is still hoping for justice in the murder of their loved one.

The sisters of Juan Rios tell CBS47 they have no idea why their brother was murdered outside his home.

Tulare County deputies say several men were hiding in a nearby orchard, and opened fire while he was opening the front gate.

Juan’s sister, Yeimi Rios, says, “He was a hard working man, very generous man. He always wanted to help everybody he could. He was always there for his kids. He was very loving.”

Family members say Juan never hung out with the wrong crowd.

They add going to work, and coming home to take care of his children were his top priorities.

Juan’s sister, Mayret Rios, says, “When I got the call, I immediately called my family.”

Yeimi says, “My sister gave me the call of what had happened to him. We were all in shock because who could do this? To this day we don’t know why or who?”

Investigators say the murder took place Dec. 18 in 2014. Rios arrived at his home on Avenue 204 in Strathmore when he was ambushed.

Deputies say inside the truck was his girlfriend’s 4-year-old boy, the only witness to the shooting.

But deputies say he was no help.

Tulare County Sgt. Steve Sanchez says, “Sheriff Mike Boudreaux has expanded our homicide unit and we do have several homicide investigators that strictly work on cold cases. So although it’s been 5 years, this is still an important case to us.”

A crucifix still hangs along the fence, at the spot where his body was found by a neighbor, who called 911.

The father of two was still alive at the time and was airlifted to a hospital in Fresno.

Yeimi says, “We had to make the hardest decision of our lives, the three of us and my dad. They told us that they had no hope for him. We really wanted to continue to have him alive, but I know it wasn’t fair for him.”

Days later the family decided to take him off life support and donate his organs.

Right now, his heart still beats in someone’s body.

Mayret says, “His heart is still beating somewhere. So he’s still doing his thing out in this world. Help a person stay alive.”

The family says they’ve never met the person who has his heart.

As for a motive, Juan’s sisters say they immediately asked his girlfriend at the time what she knew.

Yeimi says, “When I arrived she was just sitting with her head down. To me it was just odd, every time I asked her she just shook her head. She doesn’t know (anything).”

Deputies say there are no suspects in the case and Rios never had any gang affiliation.

They hope the public has some information to help bring this cold case to a close.

Juan’s sister, Ariana Rios, wants answers.

She says, “I know their response will never be justified for killing my brother and destroying our whole family. But I just want to know how a person can be so hateful to take another human beings life away.”

If you have any information about the case, please call the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office ‘Tip Now’ phone number 559-725-4194.

You can remain anonymous and help bring closure for a Tulare County family.

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