The cold case death of Russell Evans - Spokane, Washington - June 4, 1989

On June 4, 1989, at around 1:05 a.m., something terrible happened on Thor-Ray Hill near 13th Avenue. Thirteen-year-old Russell Evans was found lying in the street after apparently being hit by a car that then most likely sped off. The boy was seriously injured. While the ambulance was on its way, Russell called someone named Brian for help several times, according to two witnesses. Paramedics transported the 13-year-old to a nearby hospital where doctors attempted to save his life. About eight hours after he was found on the road, Russell died of his injuries.

According to police, Russell's death was the tragic result of a hit and run. Someone had unknowingly or consciously hit the boy, and then drove on. The boy's family initially assumed the cause of death from the police, but soon believed he had died of something else. They suspected that someone had killed their boy.

About Russell Evans
Russell was born on July 22, 1975 in Spokane, Washington. He grew up with a younger sister named Dianna. At the time of death, Russel was in eighth grade at Libby Junior High School. He had some good friends, and one of his hobbies was playing basketball.

On the day of his death, Russell had been hanging out in Thornton Murphy Park with his buddy Aaron. Everything was going well until Aaron got into a fight with another teen about his girlfriend. Russell intervened in the argument, and things soon got out of hand. Some boys started threatening him and he and Aaron left the place.

After spending the rest of the evening at a friend's house, Russel decided to go home around midnight. When the boy was on the road for a few minutes, according to the police, he was probably hit by a car, after which he was dragged about 250 feet, given the tracks at the site.. According to the pathologist who examined his body, the injuries were consistent with those expected from an accident. Still, detectives spoke to the two boys (15 and 17) Russell had been arguing with at the park. They said they had nothing to do with the case and denied being part of a street gang. The two passed a lie detector test and were ruled out as possible suspects. Police maintained their initial suspicions that it was a hit and run.

Although his family initially accepted the explanation of the police, doubts quickly set in. According to them, the traces of blood did not match a collision scenario. The traces were about fifty feet from his body. They also thought it was strange that his shoelaces had come loose from his shoes in the collision. Because of their doubts, a second pathologist was called in and looked again at the facts. This one clearly had a different opinion than the first. According to him, Russell had fought for his life that night, and his injuries on his back, among other things, were inexplicable if it had been a collision. He would also have bruises on his knuckles, something that would clearly indicate that he had been involved in a fight.

However, the police maintained their opinion that it was a hit and run, forcing Russell's family to hire a private detective. Based on her findings, his parents suspected that Russell must have encountered the people from the park on his way home. They think he was attacked by them with possibly a baseball bat or a 2 x 4.

Russell's relatives also suspected that his friend Brian was with him at the time he was attacked. This could explain why he kept calling Brian for help. The boy himself denied having been present at the scene. However, doubts arose because he said he had worn white shorts that evening. An eyewitness also happened to see a teenager in white shorts running up the hill near the crime scene. What caused additional confusion was the fact that the hospital turned out to have been called by one Brian. The person had asked about Russell's condition. Is Brian protecting someone, is he being threatened, or has he really nothing to do with it? A question that is still relevant.

Years have passed
In the years following the murder, several people pushed for a new investigation into the teen's death. On April 7, 1996, there was even a protest in which people brought banners with slogans such as "Burried in the ground, burried in the file" and photos of Russell. They felt that the police were not doing enough for the case. The police said in a response that they are investigating every tip, but that there was no reason for a new investigation at that time.

In the same year, 1996, a new witness came forward. The person said he heard someone involved in the altercation in the park tell someone that he killed Russell and run him over with a car. This was followed by more witnesses who came up with similar statements. For example, one of the suspects would have boasted that he had robbed the boy of his life. Threats to keep quiet were also made, according to witnesses.
The police, who had already cleared the suspects from the park, did nothing as far as we know with the new information.

Russell's family continued to fight for the case. Among other things, they offered a reward for the tip that would lead to the solution. His younger sister Dianna, who was only five years old when her brother died, continues to this day to find answers. She started the Facebook page ''Cold Cases of Spokane'' for relatives of cold cases in the city. She also started a funding to raise money for more research into unsolved cases and a local cold case team. Dianna still regularly appeals to people who know more about the case and hopes that someone will tell the truth one day.

Tips and Information
After all these years, Russell Evans' death has still not been cleared up. Was it a hit and run, or was it murder? We hope that if you know anything about the case, tell us your story now. A small detail can already shed a new light on things. 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. 

Please help and share this page, especially if you live in Washington