Luis Gonzales, Killed by Train in 1985, Positively ID'd by Fingerprints This Year by DPS; Next of Kin Sought

Categories: Cold Case Files

cold case peachey photo.JPG
Image: Jamie Peachey

Twenty-seven years ago, a 40-year-old named Luis Gonzales, was struck and killed by a train near Central Avenue.

The man had no identification except for a workplace time card that contained his name and the wrong date of birth, which pegged him as a 53-year-old.

Another Luis Gonzales with that birthdate was in police files, but the dead man's fingerprints didn't match. They weren't the same person. The victim never was positively identified.

Until now.

Gonzales never was forgotten, and detectives from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Phoenix Police Department, and Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner finally figured out this year who he was.

Now, they're hoping to find his next of kin to give them closure.

Gonzales had been in some trouble with the law before, and his fingerprints also were in police records.

Phoenix police took a look at the case last year as part of their ongoing efforts, with other agencies, to solve old cases using new methods and technology. Those efforts have paid off in recent years with numerous crime suspects finally being brought to justice. Police announced one such case last week, in which Steven Michael Humelhans, 41, of Illinois was arrested for killing of a 25-year-old Phoenix Domino's Pizza employee in 1988.

New Times covered another of Phoenix's solved cold cases in 2010, which resulted in the arrest of Richard Rodgers. The article explored the needs of the victim's family for closure and the challenges of prosecuting and jailing an 81-year-old suspect with medical issues.

The Gonzales case shows that cold-case effort isn't just about busting fugitives.

Police looking into the old files pulled several sets of fingerprints on file from other men with the same name who had been arrested back then for various crimes. Jennifer Valdez, a DPS fingerprint technician, found one match that looked promising, but authorities couldn't be sure it was the Gonzales.

So, in February 2011, the train victim's body was exhumed. DNA samples and dental records were obtained and compared with the man whose fingerprints resembled those on file. A positive match was made.

Family members who wonder why they haven't heard from Gonzales since 1985 may not be thrilled to find out he's long been deceased. But it seems safe to assume they'll be relieved just to know what happened.

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6 comments
looseshoes
looseshoes

Maybe the "libtard" took seriously his oath as a juror to review all the evidence together, something that would baffle an ordinary retard. Baffled, are you?

guest
guest

I was on a jury in los angeles for a 20 year old murder that the cold case detectives had kept alive. at that time, LA had only 2 cold case detectives in the whole department. it was a mexican killer (surprise!) who killed a guy in the parking lot of a dive bar near the downtown area. the mexican murderer had fled to mexico immediately after being questioned by the cops right after the murder took place, and they somehow found him, 20 years later, when he came back for a visit.

we elected a jury foreman who turned out to be a libtard (another surprise, a libtard in living LA!) and the first thing that we did in the jury room was take a vote to see where everybody stood on the trial. it was fucking unanimous in favor of convicting the mexican, right off the bat. then, the libtard foreman, who had voted for guilty as well, piped up with "maybe we should discuss this further" in an obvious attempt to talk himself out of a just decision that might hurt somebody's feelings. I had no desire to waste another minute of my life on this worthless mexican murderer, so I loudly and forcefully informed the libtard that we wouldn't be able to order a pizza for lunch with as much ease as we came to the unanimous guilty verdict and that we all had heard the same evidence and had already voted. the rest of the jury agreed and the libtard shut the fuck up. the killer was convicted of second degree murder. the two cold case detectives thanked us all after the trial and I was glad to have helped make their hard work pay off.

85014
85014

Regardless of Mr. Gonzales's errors, it's pretty cool that AZ DPS, Phoenix PD, and Maricopa County ME uses it resources to return a person home to its family. Good job law enforcement officers.

I could turn this post into something about our current Sheriff but it's not worth the waste of New Times server space or my computer's electrons.

guest
guest

did they figure out why he was hanging around on the train tracks? did he forget to look both ways before crossing? I think that I was about 5 years old when I learned the valuable "look both ways" rule. it's served me well throughout my life. thanks mom and dad.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

 "In the mean time the MCSO cold case posse is spinning it's wheels trying to discredit the birth certificate and social security card of the President of the United States, instead of trying to clear cold cases with victims".

Nope, 85014, I won't say that either.

85014
85014

That's exactly what I was thinking Tommy.

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