The cold case murder of Charles Robert 'Charlie' Anderson - Burbank, California - January 24, 1987

On January 24, 1987, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Charlie Anderson and his family came home in the 1700 block of West Oak Street around midnight from a visit to the parents of Beth, Charlie's wife. With a back injury, Beth waited in the car while Charlie went inside the house to put their oldest son to bed. He had told his wife to stay in the car. According to Beth's later statement, at one point she heard a strange noise, which she described as a car backfiring. Unable to place the sound, she decided to enter the house to see if everything was okay. At the top of the stairs, she got the fright of her life when she found Charlie shot dead there.

In a blind panic, Beth ran out of the house to the car, grabbed their youngest son, and then ran to the neighbor's house. There she called 911.

Police Investigation
The police soon arrived on the scene. First of all, they went looking for the eldest son. They found him unharmed. Charlie's murder initially seemed like a burglary gone wrong. Detectives suspected the 35-year-old had surprised a burglar and was shot. However, doubts soon arose about this scenario. After a closer inspection of the house, the police came to the conclusion that the possible burglar had left a lot of valuables lying around, while they were in plain sight. There were also things moved around the house that didn't look like a spontaneous break-in. It looked much more like someone had wanted to lead the police astray by making it look like a botched burglary.

Charlie's sister Trish had been at the crime scene and afterwards said she was surprised at the expression on her brother's face. According to her, he looked remarkably wide-eyed as if shocked or betrayed. Her statements later sparked rumors that he had known his killer.

But the police also suspected this. While there was a chance it was a burglary gone wrong, detectives said it was quite possible that Charlie had been met at home by someone he knew. But who? The police collected all evidence in the home and outside the day of the murder. No murder weapon was found. They came to the disappointing conclusion that virtually no clues had been found, except for fingerprints that later turned out to be all from relatives. It did not appear that the case would be resolved any time soon.

Suspicious call
A day after Charlie's murder, the Burbank Police Department received an unexpected call. On the other end of the line, an audibly nervous man said he had information about the murder. He immediately aroused the interest of the lead investigator. The man claims to know the identity of the person who was responsible for Charlie's murder. However, he suddenly became very nervous when he realized that the conversation was being recorded, and that the police might be able to trace him. Because the investigator could not turn off these functions, they agreed that the unknown man would call him back on his own cellphone. They hung up, but the man never called back. 

The police tried very hard to trace the caller, but were never able to find him. They keep hoping that the person will decide to contact them again. Are you the caller? You can tell us your story anonymously, we will make sure that the information ends up in the right place. Please fill in the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Was Beth involved in the murder?
In a murder investigation, the police in the vast majority of cases look first at the husband or wife. And so Beth was also scrutinized. The very fact that she refused to be interviewed by the police since the night of the murder made her suspicious. You may also wonder how logical her statement about that night was. She reportedly remarried another man soon after Charlie's death. All remarkable circumstances to say the least. Still, she never became an official suspect and died in January 2019.

New information
Years passed without any movement in the cold case. Until the late nineties an interesting tip about the case came to detectives. There was a major investigation that lasted a year, but did not lead to an arrest or official suspect. Prosecutors found the evidence too thin to charge a suspect. Police later stated there was some indication the killer was close to Charlie. They couldn't say more than that. 

Tips and information
The case is still unsolved after all these years, but the Burbank Police detectives are not giving up on the case. Together with Charlie's family, they hope that someone can tell more about the murder. Is that you? Do you know more about the case? Even if it is just a small detail, or a lot of information, let us know now. Don't hesitate and get in touch now (anonymously) using the form below.

This goes without the interference of the police, and entirely through our editors. If you would like to remain anonymous, do not enter your name and e-mail address. We ensure that your information ends up in the right place with the appropriate cold case team. 

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