The cold case murder of Kevin Clewer - Chicago, Illinois - March 24, 2004

On March 23, 2004, Kevin Clewer and his friend John Siracusa, visiting from Minnesota, went on a pub crawl on North Halsted Street in Lake View, also known as the Boystown neighborhood of Chicago. The next day, the 31-year-old had to work, but did not show up. Because his colleagues couldn't reach him, his father decided to drive to his son's Lakeview apartment to see if everything was okay. Once inside, he made a horrifying discovery when he found his son murdered in his bedroom. He had been stabbed in the back more than forty times.

The police conducted an extensive investigation into the gruesome murder and questioned the circle of acquaintances and relatives in the hope of new clues. It quickly became clear to the detectives that Kevin was a good boy. He grew up in Calumet City with his brother and parents and moved to Chicago's Lake View neighborhood in his late twenties. Kevin was attracted to men, and sometimes had fairly serious relationships. He then introduced these men to his parents, who were always very supportive. According to the police, Kevin had no enemies at all.

At the crime scene, the police could not find any signs of a break-in, nor did they find any traces that pointed in the direction of a fight. It could be an indication that Kevin knew his killer, and let him in himself. He probably had felt comfortable with that person, and wasn't wary.

Person of interest: Fernando
In conversations detectives had with Kevin's friends, the name Fernando quickly surfaced, whom Kevin apparently had met in the nightclub on the night of the murder. And although the two were complete strangers, they hit it off right from the start, according to witnesses. John said he last saw his mate alive when he said he was going somewhere with Fernando.

Based on testimonials, the police had a composition sketch made of the man who had introduced himself as Fernando. Kevin's family handed out thousands of flyers with the sketch, hoping someone would recognize the man. The police also circulated the sketch in various ways in the neighborhood. 

Meanwhile investigators spoke to the community and learned that Fernando was a known person there. According to insiders, his real name was probably not Fernando, and he had a reputation for robbing people and being involved in prostitution. Most of the robberies were never reported due to embarrassment. The police continued to actively search for the suspect, but were unable to connect the ends to find him.

Cold Case
Years passed in which the case did not move much. Both of Kevin's parents tragically passed away in 2005, just two weeks apart. Which left his brother Ron pretty much on his own in the search for answers. Among other things, he set up a website about Kevin, where he shared information and updates, and where he asked the public for help. He also tirelessly kept handing out flyers in the neighborhood. Through Ron, there was finally a breakthrough in the case in 2021.

Break Through

The breakthrough came around 2020/2021 thanks to a tip that Ron Clewer received on social media. Thanks to new information, detectives discovered the identity of "Fernando," apparently a man of Puerto Rican descent. It turned out that the suspect had fled to his home country of Puerto Rico after police released his sketch, but had occasionally traveled back to Chicago. The police did not want to give his real name but said they would pick up the case again.

In 2022, Lieutenant William Svilar of the Homicide Division released a video message saying that police believe the suspect was responsible for the murder, but that he needed additional evidence to have the murder prosecuted by the Cook County Attorney's Office. He said more witnesses were needed. In the video, Svilar said police believe there are people in Chicago and likely other places who could help in the case and called on people to come forward with information about the Puerto Rican man who called himself Fernando.

Tips and Information
Despite the discovery of the suspect's identity, the case remains unsolved at the time of writing. The police and Kevin's family hope that there are people who want to tell more about the suspect, and that justice will finally be served. We would therefore like to ask you to contact us if you think you can help in the case. Do you know more about 'Fernando'? Don't hesitate and get in touch (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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