$20K Reward Offered to Solve Two 2013 Homicides

Police and prosecutors have teamed up to offer cash rewards for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in either of two separate homicide cases.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney and the San Jose Police Department will pay $20,000 to anyone who offers a tip that helps resolve an unsolved stabbing and shooting in 2013. It’s the first time in recent memory that the two agencies have teamed up to offer a reward.

Anthony Daniel Santa Cruz, 17, was stabbed to death just after school let out on Feb. 13 last year near San Jose High School. Investigators believe the attack was gang motivated. Tipsters are encouraged to call detectives Sgt. Steward Davies or Wayne Smith at 408.277.5283.

Justin Watkins, 20, was fatally shot on June 26 that same year in south San Jose. Anyone with details about his case can contact Detective Jaime Jimenez at the same number, which dials the SJPD homicide unit.

“Police Chief Larry Esquivel and I will never accept that any homicide will remain unsolved,” DA Jeff Rosen said. “We will make every effort to bring those who bring bloodshed into our safe community to justice. Today we are asking for the public to join us in that resolve and help us solve two killings.”

In January, SJPD Chief Larry Esquivel helped launched a video series titled “Make the Call.” In the show, Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell interviews family members of the victims in unsolved homicide cases to appeal to the public and encourage them to call in with tips that could close the cases.

“These families and our community need closure,” Esquivel said. “Hopefully this reward money will help us solve these senseless homicides.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

3 Comments

  1. Dear Larry Esquival.

    The last time there was a reward offered, I worked my burro off. I spent about 2 months peppering Evergreen with wanted posters, hitting the streets talking to people, and tracking down a violent criminal with past crimes similar to the one committed. I found that the detective in charge of the case to be a complete idiot, unable to write coherent sentences, let alone have the reading comprehension to fully understand the trail I was tracking.

    At the end of it, I gave your department a name. The next day, you went out and arrested the guy I named for you. Did I get a reward? Did I get a thanks? No, I got a “Gee sorry Rob, we knew the name a week before you did!” Which was utter BS.

    One council friend told me, “They always do that”

    No thanks.

    I offered to help on one of the cases when the trail was still hot. Nope, you didn’t want it then, and you won’t be getting it now.

  2. What about the other Unsolved homicides. My nephew was stabbed and killed August 23, 2012. What makes his life less important than these two. Just asking. How do you determine it.

  3. So, do the PD and DA have a reward budget? How much is in it annually? What criteria are used to determine when to open the public wallet when the investigation fails to produce an arrest? Who determines which life taken is more important than the other lives taken, and thus worthy of a reward if the killer is located?