By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
It was a late Thursday night when sheriff’s deputies were called — a Clovis man was found by his family, shot to death at the business he owned.
Three years later investigators still don’t know who killed J.C. Tucker, owner of Tucker Auto Sales and Tucker Self-Storage on U.S. 60-84 near Cannon Air Force Base.
As another anniversary of the Sept. 4, 2003, homicide passes, the trail has gone cold.
Jackie Davidson, Tucker’s daughter, said she won’t rest until she knows who killed her father.
“I haven’t given up, I don’t know how to give up. There’s times I feel, ‘Gosh this is crazy.’ I’ve been pushing all along. I’ve done everything I can — a person by themselves with no power, no money. I’m still hopeful that somebody will slip up and talk along the line,” she said.
Daily calls to investigators have dwindled to weekly calls, she said, but she won’t stop until she knows who killed her father and why.
The Tucker case is the county’s only unsolved homicide in at least 15 years and it nags at him, Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher said.
Having a suspect to connect to the evidence has been the biggest hurdle in the case, Hatcher explained.
Every lead has been followed, every tip checked out, he said. Enlisting the aid of a psychic was even discussed at one point, he said.
There have been dozens of interviews conducted and several people of interest to investigators over the years, Hatcher said.
One thing investigators do believe is Tucker knew his killer.
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing — you don’t know what it’s going to look like until you get it together. We have some gut feelings in regards to some individuals, but we don’t have the proof. You only have one shot at charging someone,” he said.
“It bothers me greatly that we haven’t at least narrowed down a suspect. I’ve got four months left to go and I don’t like not having closure on this.”
Hatcher’s two-term limit as sheriff runs out in December.
Hatcher anticipates the case will continue to be a top priority for sheriff’s investigators under the new administration.
With no statute of limitations in New Mexico, he holds to the hope as time passes someone will talk about their involvement, giving investigators the break they need.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said he has met with family members several times and continues to speak with them periodically.
He has given his investigators authority to assist in the case any way they can, though, ultimately the case falls under jurisdiction of the sheriff’s department.
Davidson said she will persevere, continuing to keep the case alive until she gets the answers she seeks and can finally put her father to rest.
“I can’t believe it’s been three years. I was a mess that first year; I couldn’t turn my mind off. It doesn’t just go away, my life has been forever changed since that day. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel good without having answers in this. It reminds me to never say never — it could happen to anybody,” she said.