FREMONT (CBS SF) — Hoping to generate new leads for Fremont homicide investigators, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and a conviction in the 2007 cold case murder of Emerson Zuniga.
The money was being made available from the state’s crime tip reward program. The law allows the governor to offer a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of perpetrators for certain unsolved crimes, and up to $100,000 for certain crimes against first responders or for arson upon a place of worship.
On January 25, 2007, at approximately 2:15 p.m., Zuniga, was found suffering from a life-threatening injury in the front yard of a house located on the 4300 block of Stevenson Blvd.
During the initial investigation, witnesses told officers they had witnessed Zuniga fighting with two other men just before finding him. Witnesses told investigators indicated the fight was brief and ended with one male suspect embedding a large metal object into the top of Zuniga’s head.
Following the altercation, the two suspects left the area in a late 1980’s or early 1990’s metallic blue minivan with factory rims, that was possibly two-toned in color.
Detectives said the vehicle information has never been shared with the public.
Then then 20-year-old Zuniga was transported to a trauma center. He was hospitalized for more than a month before dying on Feb. 26, 2007 from his wounds.
The suspects that had been seen fighting with Zuniga were described as two Hispanic males, late teens or early 20’s, both approximately 5’8″ to 5’10” with medium builds.
Detectives said the suspects were wearing baggy t-shirts and slightly loose fitted pants, possibly jeans. One of the suspects was wearing a black ball cap that said Raiders. Both suspects had medium to short dark colored hair. One of the suspects possibly had facial hair, described as a goat-tee and thin mustache. A third involved suspect, and driver of the vehicle, was described as a Hispanic male in his early 20s.
In recent months, new investigative tips have prompted Cold Case Detective Jacob Blass to re-open and examine the evidence. The new leads have provided the ability to develop a composite sketch of the primary suspect who caused Zuniga’s fatal injury.
“Although we have some information based on witness accounts, this case has remained unsolved for almost 14 years,” Fremont police officials said in a news release. “We believe that there are people who have information about this case and are hopeful that by re-sharing the details, someone will come forward.”
Anyone with information on this case is requested to contact Fremont Police Department Cold Case Detective Jacob Blass at Jblass@fremont.gov or 510-790-6900. An anonymous hotline is also available: 510-494-4856.