Pictured #1 Mother and brother of Kevin Clewer, Pat Cunningham and Ron Clewer. #2 Kevin. Photo at left by Marie-Jo Proulx
On March 23, the family of Kevin Clewer held a press conference and remembrance service for the 31-year-old gay man who was stabbed to death in his Lakeview apartment last spring. On the eve of the one-year anniversary of his murder, Clewer's parents, Jim Clewer and Pam Cunningham, and his brother Ron Clewer said they remained hopeful that his attacker would eventually be found and brought to justice.
Shortly after the murder, a composite sketch of a man possibly called Fernando was released to the public. While identified as 'a person of interest' at first, he is now considered the main suspect in the crime. Forty thousand flyers bearing information and the sketch have been distributed in Chicago and across the U.S. over the last 12 months. The police have received hundreds of tips but none has led to either Fernando or any other individual who may have been involved.
'We are struggling with two things,' Ron Clewer said, 'the loss of Kevin and the fact that nobody has been caught.' Speaking of the night of the murder, he added, 'when we were sitting in the police station, we thought we'd know [ who did it ] in the morning. I didn't think I could cope with 72 hours, three months, a year. But we have.'
Kevin's father is the one who found his body. 'Every month on the 24th, I think about that day a year ago,' he said. His mother declared that she was looking for some answers regarding the motive. 'I have to know if this person knew Kevin. This violent, brutal act was a statement. I want to know what that statement was.'
Asked if the family thought the police had acted appropriately in trying to solve the murder, Ron Clewer admitted that he was not certain whether the composite sketch had been made public at the right time. 'The police wanted to hold off so the person would feel like he got away with it,' he explained. He acknowledged that authorities were under a lot of pressure as rumors of a serial killer were beginning to spread. 'I have to ask if it was too soon,' he confided. But Clewer mostly praised the police for their sustained efforts in investigating all leads. He also repeatedly thanked Chicago's gay community and media for their continued support.
Anyone with information about Kevin Clewer's murder can contact the Chicago Police Department, Area 3 Homicide at 312-744-8261, or Cook County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-535-STOP.