A California deputy is shot to death during an attempted burglary of his home.
On January 24, 1987, a deputy sheriff named Charlie Anderson was gunned down in his Burbank, California home. Anderson was a 14-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He distinguished himself as a highly skilled driver, teaching hundreds of officers how to handle themselves and their vehicles in dangerous situations. Sergeant George Grein was a close colleague of Anderson’s:
Charlie was also a dedicated father, never too busy to spend evenings and weekends with his two sons. To those who knew him, Charlie did not seem to have an enemy in the world—until he was shot and killed in his own home. Charlie’s wife, Beth, told Detective Roger Mason of the Burbank Police Department that on the night of the murder, the couple and their two sons arrived home around midnight:
Police at the scene found the Anderson’s older son unharmed. Their first impression was that Charlie had surprised a burglar and had been shot. But according to Detective Mason, there were other signs that the burglary had been staged:
Charlie’s sister, Trish, was at the crime scene. She agreed with Detective Mason’s theory that the robbery was staged:
In the end, the evidence collected at the crime scene was ambiguous. The only identifiable fingerprints were from members of the family. Police were left with a murder victim and virtually no leads, until a mysterious phone call one day later:
The call could not be connected to an unrecorded line. The detective had to ask the witness to hang up and call again. The man agreed. But the phone call never came.
On January 31, 1987, Charlie Anderson was laid to rest with the full honors reserved for officers killed in the line of duty. Since then, a lack of evidence has dragged the investigation to a standstill. Detective Mason and the rest of the Burbank Police Department are still searching for the unidentified caller:
Burbank Police firmly believe that the mystery witness is their last hope to close this case. A $25,000 reward is being offered and police have guaranteed confidentiality for anyone coming forward with information.