San Diego Police Cold Case Detectives Solve 1987 Homicide

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PR On April 28, 1987, at 11:30 p.m. 15 year old Dewan Emerson told his mother he was stepping outside for a few minutes to talk to a male who had come by the house. Dewan told his mother he knew the male and it would only be a few minutes. Dewan disappeared and never returned.

The following morning, Dewan’s body was found lying in a flood control channel along the 5200 block of Naranja Street.  Dewan had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

Homicide Detectives were called to the scene and conducted an extensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding Dewan’s murder.  Unfortunately, the suspect was not identified and the case went cold.

Recently, SDPD Cold Case Detectives along with District Attorney Investigators reopened Dewan’s case.  This investigation included interviewing past witnesses, family members, and reviewing evidence collected during the initial investigation.  Some of this evidence was reanalyzed by the SDPD Laboratory Unit.  Due to recent advances in forensic technology, a suspect DNA profile was developed and identified 56 year old Russell Taylor as the suspect.  Taylor was 26 years old at the time of Dewan’s murder.

At the time of his identification, Taylor was serving a 25 year sentence in San Quintin State Prison.  Taylor was arraigned in the San Diego Superior Court on February 14, 2017 and charged with Dewan’s murder.

On the night of Dewan’s murder, a witness described seeing a young male running in the 5100 block of Groveland Street.  The male, wearing a white T-shirt that was torn on the left side and blue sweat pants, stated he was being chased.  The male was described as a black male, 17 to 18 years old, around 6 feet tall, and weighing about 160 pounds.  The witness described the male as “chubby.”

This male has not been identified and detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying him.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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