Vancouver
2 min

Still no suspects

Police ask for help solving Leonardo murder

COPS STUMPED: Police are asking for help to solve the murder of gay man Edgar Leonardo. Police suspect Leonardo may have met his killer at a West End coffee shop Aug 23, 2003. Credit: Xtra West files

The lead investigator in the Edgar Leonardo case says he still hasn’t received a single tip towards a suspect in the gay man’s murder. But that doesn’t mean Det Richard Akin is giving up. On the contrary, he is appealing once again to the gay community for help.



“Let’s face it,” Akin says, “this thing is almost a year old and to date we haven’t received a tip from anyone as far as who Edgar may have met.”



But “I want the community to know that we don’t give up on stuff like this,” Akin says. “We’re trying, but I need help.”



Leonardo’s body was found in his 1601 Comox St apartment Aug 27, 2003. His landlady discovered his body after colleagues grew concerned about the gay man’s unexplained absence from work. Leonardo was 36 years old.



Akin suspects a bad date. “I think it’s fairly obvious: He met somebody and that person killed him.



“There’s no other motive, other than a bad date, as far as we can tell. And we’ve looked at a lot of stuff,” he continues. “We’ve been able to discount traditional motives.”



A lot of work has gone into this case, Akin points out; he just doesn’t have any suspects yet.



That’s why he’s hoping a recent Crime Stoppers re-enactment of the victim’s potential last hours will help jog somebody’s memory. “We’re hoping somebody will be able to say, ‘oh yeah, we saw someone with Edgar.’



“I’m just asking people to search their memory. If you saw someone similar anywhere in the city of Vancouver, we’d like to know about it,” Akin says.



The detective is particularly interested in any information regarding Leonardo’s last days between Aug 23 and Aug 27. Leonardo was last seen around 9:30 pm Aug 23, 2003, as he was leaving his family’s house in East Vancouver after dinner. “I believe he met somebody somewhere” after that, Akin says. “He liked to meet men in coffee shops, on the street, basically anywhere in the West End.”



Akin filmed part of the Crime Stoppers re-enactment in Delaney’s coffee shop on Denman St, but says he has no evidence to suggest that Leonardo actually went there before his death.



Leonardo liked to meet men in coffee shops, Akin reiterates, but there’s no reason to believe he went to Delaney’s that day.



The detective says he chose Delaney’s because the coffee shop invited the Crime Stoppers crew to film there-and it was as good a coffee shop setting as any to potentially jog people’s memories.



“The reality is we have no information as to where he met his killer,” Akin openly admits. “There’s been a fair amount of work done on this and the reality is, we’ve come up dry.”



Part of the problem might be that Leonardo was not very well known in the gay community, Akin notes. But he’s still optimistic that someone will call soon with something.



“It’s still an open file,” he says, adding that he initially worked on the case on an “almost daily basis” from August to December 2003, and still revisits it regularly now.



All homicides are a priority for the Vancouver Police Department, Akin says.



He dismisses the idea that Leonardo was killed by a predator stalking gay men in the West End. It’s been almost a year and there haven’t been any more incidents resembling the Leonardo killing, he points out.



“I just want to reassure your readers that I don’t believe there is a predator out there,” Akin says. “But there is a murderer at large.”



* If you have any information about Edgar Leonardo call: Det Richard Akin: 604.717.2500 or call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.TIPS