No Arrests In Unsolved Homicides

Published 04/01 2014 05:49PM

Updated 04/01 2014 06:34PM

DELANO, CA. -- More than six months have passed in several unsolved homicide cases in Delano. Families are desperate for answers and for justice in the murders of a young mother and a popular, elderly barber. Detectives said without witnesses, they're left to wait on forensic tests and to piece together clues to solve the cases.

Every two weeks, Erika Padron Lango's mother calls Delano detectives to ask if there are any leads into who killed her daughter.

In early October, Lango disappeared after an argument with her husband Julio Lango. He said he picked her up from the AM/PM gas station near their home, but she later left their apartment to walk to a friend's house. She never arrived.

On December 3, 2013, Erika Padron Lango's body was found in the Friant-Kern canal.

Her husband was once called a person of interest, but Tuesday Julio Lango said he'd call the police if 17 News knocked on his door again.

Delano Police said there are five homicide detectives working Erika Lango's and other murder cases.

"They're working them 24/7," said Delano Police Commander Raul Alvizo.

"They're not working on any other cases. They're mainly focusing on the homicide cases that we currently have."

Before Lango disappeared, Detectives were investigating at another part of the canal. In September, the body of 88-year-old barber Johnny Espinoza was found in the trunk of his car. No one has ever been arrested for his murder.

Johnny Espinoza's closest friend Simona Forsythe said time has not made things easier. She was too distressed to talk on camera, but says Espinoza's family and friends realize cases like this take time for detectives and right now all they can do is pray that Johnny gets justice.

Law enforcement and the Kern County District Attorney said they're still carefully building cases.

"We don't want these cases, once we go to court, to be dismissed on a technicality, because we weren't thorough in our investigations," said Alvizo.

"We usually give the [law enforcement] agency a list of what we're asking them to do in way of follow up and it's up to them how fast or slow they complete the list," said District Attorney Lisa Green.

"They might make an arrest based on probable cause, but our burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is much higher. So we need to have the evidence that we feel is going to be compelling."

The families and friends of Espinoza and Lango said they're still hopeful and confident in the Delano Police Department and that the killers will eventually be punished.

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