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— San Diego homicide rates continue to fall, but so do victims. Here are three more recent San Diego cases that remain unsolved, as described by reports from the office of the San Diego County Medical Examiner. Clues to who committed the crimes may be left at our tip line, 235-3000, ext. 440.

Richard Dennis Bacon

Age: 41

Occupation: Long-distance telephone salesman

Residence: El Cajon

A passerby notified police dispatch at 10:24 p.m., 10-23-97, that he observed a male subject slumped over in the driver seat of a van in the 3000 block of Logan Ave., San Diego. Officers Amezcua and Hairston responded and found the decedent with an apparent gunshot wound to the neck and with the driver-side windows of the vehicle blown out. Death was obvious and homicide detectives were notified.

The decedent was seated in the driver seat of a 1987 Plymouth van, parked on the north curb in the 3000 block of Logan Ave. The driver-side door window and left rear side window were blown out. The shirt was saturated with blood. An apparent gunshot wound was noted to the left lateral neck area. After the body was removed from the vehicle other apparent gunshot wounds were noted as follows: two in the right cheek, one in the right upper chest, and another one in the left upper back area.

The body is clad in the following appropriately positioned garments:

(1) A short-sleeve gray T-shirt with "AIR" written on a white emblem on the front. The front and back are soaked with partially dried blood. The bottom of the shirt is slightly pulled up. A 3/8 inch round defect is located 1 inch inferior to the right front neckline. Just below the edge of the back of left neckline is a 3/8 inch round defect.

(2) A pair of dark blue denim shorts with a stretched, worn, black leather belt with a shiny gray metal buckle in the belt loops. Clipped to the left side of the waistband is a black pager and a black plastic cellular phone clip. In the right front change pocket is a collection of joined key rings with a small shackle and a total of 15 keys. Also in this pocket is an unopened package of "Smarties" candies and seven dimes, three nickels, and five pennies. In the back left pocket are two worn, partially torn small spiral notebooks, one of which contains multiple business cards. Both contain many numbers. The left back pocket is empty. An additional penny and black ballpoint pen fall from the shorts when they are removed. The front of the shorts shows a small amount of blood and splatters of dried brown material consistent with gastric contents. Around the left wrist is a heavy yellow metal chain bracelet. On the left little finger is a large yellow metal ring.

Richard Serna Cadena

Age: 27

Occupation: Mechanic, U.S. Navy

Residence: Chula Vista

Body found December 19, 1997, on the beach near the 1000 block of Mariner's Way in Mission Beach, San Diego.

A gunshot wound was found entering the right back which perforated the right lung and the heart causing massive internal hemorrhage. Two extremely close-range gunshots entered the right side of the head quickly striking skull, fragmenting, and damaging no major neurovascular structures, never entering into the cranial cavity or causing significant brain damage. Based upon the circumstances surrounding the death, as currently known, the manner of death is homicide.

Homicide Team One Detective Terry Lange revealed in a telephone interview that the decedent lived with his girlfriend. The decedent did not return home after work on the evening of 12/18/97. When he came home late from work, his girlfriend would become angry. Therefore, once each week, he was not returning home until the next morning to avoid confrontation. His personal vehicle was missing.

Based upon the drainage pattern of the wounds and the fact that there appear to be drag patterns between the location of the body and adjacent tire marks, that the decedent may very well have suffered at least an initial injury elsewhere and was transported to this location.

Methamphetamine was detected in decedent's blood.

Donald Minh Tran

Age: 51

Occupation: Self-employed business owner

Residence: San Diego

At 14:06 hours, 2-26-98, the decedent was found expired in his van parked at the west curb in the 900 block of Tenth Avenue, San Diego, by a parking enforcement officer. The officer requested a records check on the decedent's license plate because a parking ticket was on the windshield. When the officer learned the decedent had been reported missing, a patrol unit was requested. Officers confirmed the death and noted trauma to the decedent's body.

Previous History: At 13:00 hours, 2-24-98, the decedent left his residence to gamble at the Sycuan Casino, 5469 Dehesa Road, El Cajon. He usually takes approximately $1500 with him and plays the poker slot machines. He left the casino at 07:55 hours, 2-25-98 after calling his wife, informing her he was enroute home, per his usual custom. He has always returned home directly from the casino. When the decedent did not show at home, his wife completed a missing person report with the San Diego County Sheriff Dept. at 11:41 hours. Casino personnel confirmed the decedent cashed in $2000 before leaving the casino.

Bullet wound: Centered in the forehead, 3-1/2 inches below the crown of the head, 1-1/2 inches above the bridge of the nose is a close-range bullet entry wound that measures slightly more than 1/4 inch in diameter. There is abrasion around its periphery. The bullet entered as described above and passed through the frontal bone where there is inward beveling and small amount of soot on the outer mantle. The bullet perforates the medial aspect of both frontal lobes of brain and then passes through the anterior portion of the sella turcica approximately 1/2 inch right lateral of midline, proceeding through the petrous ridge and is embedded in the medial aspect of the right petrous ridge.

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