Family of cold case victim wants answers

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A Chesterfield family wants answers.  Their loved one's killer is still on the loose eight years after the murder.  Melvin Tanner was shot to death inside his own home in October of 2004.  To this day, no one has been arrested and no suspect has ever been named.

Chesterfield Police have had the case for eight years, but trail has run cold.  Detectives know what happened to Melvin Tanner, but they don't know why and who's responsible.

Tanner was a father, brother and beloved uncle with an infectious smile.  After October 1, 2004, that smile would only be seen in photos.

"It's traumatic," his niece Heather Spencer told NBC12.  "Everybody is still devastated."

Spencer moved to Chesterfield in the last two weeks.  After eight years, she wanted to get more involved with her Uncle Melvin's case.

"We need answers," she said.  "This family needs to just put everything to rest."

From witness statements, Chesterfield detectives have learned a neighbor who was at Tanner's Treetop apartment on October 1 answered the door and encountered a man looking for the 50-year-old.  From what she's told police, it seemed like the two knew each other.  She said she stepped outside and then, heard a struggle and a gunshot.

The suspect fled in a light green 4-door Chevy.  There was a getaway driver waiting for him.  Police are searching for him, as well.

Over the years, artists have produced two suspect sketches from witness descriptions.  The same person looks different when drawn from two different memories.

"We've never had that person who's been able to say to us who the suspect is and we're hoping that somebody in the public will see these composites and be able to give us a name," explained Lt. Randy Horowitz.

Spencer thinks that name that will bring closure to her family.

"It will bring us justice if he gets convicted of what he did because he doesn't need to be out on the streets," she said.  "If he's done this to my uncle, God knows how many other people he's done this to."

Investigators told us there was no report of anything stolen and no indication this was a drug deal gone bad.

If you recognize the person in the sketches or know anything about Tanner's murder, call Crime solvers at 748-0660.

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