San Jose police arrest 3 suspects in 20-year-old homicide cold case

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Monday, October 11, 2021
SJPD arrests 3 suspects in 20-year-old homicide cold case
The San Jose Police Department says they've arrested three people in a 20-year-old homicide cold case.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose Police Department says they've arrested three people in a 20-year-old homicide cold case. Now they're asking for help locating the victim's family to share the news.

The victim was 22-year-old Nhin Phi Ha. Investigators say he was in front of his apartment complex on Avalani Avenue just before 8 p.m. on October 31, 2001 when someone stabbed him and a friend.

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"This victim had just arrived at his apartment, was exiting a vehicle when he was randomly attacked," said Sgt. Christian Camarillo, Spokesperson for the San Jose Police Department.

The friend survived while Ha died from his injuries. SJPD says two suspects took off an SUV with a third get away driver.

For two decades, several detectives worked the case. There were leads but no arrests, until now.

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Advanced DNA testing has helped Fremont police solve a 37-year-old case involving the murder of two cousins, both 16, whose bodies were found in Fremont in what was then an undeveloped rural area.

"It really demonstrates the tenacity and relentlessness of our homicide detectives," said Camarillo.

This past August, SJPD says the case was assigned to an SJPD and District Attorney's Office Cold Case team who brought new life to the investigation.

"Some of these same witnesses that were interviewed 20 years ago were re-interviewed recently. For whatever reasons they decided to be more forthcoming, provide more information which really sealed the case," said Camarillo.

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Last week, members of the police department's Covert Response Team located three suspects, who were all booked into Santa Clara County Jail for homicide, assault with a deadly weapon and gang enhancements.

The San Jose Police Department has notified the other victim who survived the stabbing, but has not been able to locate Ha's family to notify them.

"We really want to find this victim's family and let them know what that there has been a conclusion and resolution to this case," said Camarillo.

They're asking for anyone with information about how to get in touch with Ha's family to contact them.