Silent Witness offers reward for answers in double homicide

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By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

PHOENIX -- Silent Witness is offering up to a $1,000 reward for a 10-year-old cold case.

Police are hoping that the reward will get someone to come forward with information about a crime that happened a decade ago.

The mother of one of the victims said she just wants closure, and hopes someone remembers what happened at 4th Avenue and Alta Vista when a shooting killed her son and his friend, Mark Ortiz, causing them to crash into a fence.

It will be 10 years in February since Rita Gutierrez’ son Alejandro “Alex” Talabera, Junior was shot to death.

"He was loving, respectful, helpful, responsible," Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said there's not a day that goes by that she doesn't think of her son.

On Feb. 27, 2005 police said Alex Talabera and Mark Ortiz were gunned down in the early morning near 4th Avenue and Alta Vista in south Phoenix.

Gutierrez said her son had called her and said he would be home soon, and when time passed and he hadn’t come home, she called his cell phone and Ortiz’s cell phone.

"I didn't get an answer, and I thought ‘what's going on. It's not like Alex,'" said Gutierrez.

Silent Witness said the shooting happened while Talabera was driving with Ortiz and another passenger.

The other passenger survived uninjured.

"Another car pulls up beside them. We are unsure if there is any pre-contact with this other vehicle, if there is a problem or another argument or altercation that caused or provoked it. We're not sure," said Sgt. Derek Elmore with Silent Witness. "Someone from that vehicle began opening fire on this vehicle."

"I just don't understand what went through this person's mind to do this," said Gutierrez.

For nearly 10 years Gutierrez has been asking who shot her son and why.

"I know he wasn't involved in gangs,” said Gutierrez. “I know he wasn't involved in drugs. (Alex and Mark) weren't the types that were always fighting or picking problems with anybody or anything like that."

She just hopes if anyone knows anything they will step forward to help her find closure.

"It's just painful to be living like this each and every day each and every night," said Gutierrez.

Police said the description of the vehicle the suspect or suspects were driving is a dark or maroon 4-door compact vehicle with chrome wheels similar in size to a Ford Focus or Ford Escort.

If you know anything Silent Witness would like to hear from you by calling 480-WITNESS. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward.