Crime Trackers

Jan 27, 2014 7:48 PM by Lupita Murillo

Detectives reopen 1988 Cold Case

TUCSON- It's an old case that new technology may help detectives to solve.

It happened at a pet store on Orange Grove and Thornydale in the spring of 1988. It was an armed robbery that turned deadly. 22-year-old Lisa Atkins, a mother of a 13-month-old boy, was gunned down behind the cash register.

It happened in broad daylight at the Village Pet Mart. Homicide detective Ryan O'Connor says, "A suspect walked into the business browsed around briefly before going to the register and demanded money."

A young boy was inside the store buying a guinea pig. He was standing by the cash register. The detective says, "The suspect addressed the 11-year-old as "youngster" and directed him to get down on the ground."

Another employee was complying with the demands of opening the cash register. That's when the suspect pulled the trigger. "We don't really understand why he would have done that. However its clear he would have had little regard for human life."

Witnesses say the man was described as a white male, 25 to 30 years old, making him about 50 to 55 years old today. He was described as being of average build about 170 lbs. with sandy blonde hair, a full closely trimmed beard.

What detectives have today that they didn't have 26 years ago is DNA. "Technology has advanced and enabled us to send off some items for forensic analysis that we were not able to do at the time of the initial investigation."

Det. O'Connor says while cold cases are challenging, people change and so do relationships. So if they had information then, now would be a good time to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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