Year-old murder case remains unsolved |

Year-old murder case remains unsolved

William Ferchland

The matter of Joel Bravo, found dead last January from a gunshot wound to the head, is now a cold case.

Sgt. Cam Carmichael, who helps head the investigations unit at the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, said several dead-end arrests, a jury acquittal and no new evidence has, for now, put the case on the shelf.

“I can’t even tell you how many people we interviewed and how many times we reinterviewed them and how their stories would change,” Carmichael said. “Nobody would give the same story twice. It was a frustration from the beginning.”

Authorities believe one source gave them the correct version of events but had their hands tied because the story wouldn’t be admissible in court since it was basically one suspect ratting on another suspect, Carmichael said.

The details around the murder of Bravo, 23, were tough to disseminate from the beginning, Carmichael said.

Information about the murder was called into authorities six hours after Bravo’s death. The gun, in a holster, was found on the kitchen floor while Bravo’s body was discovered on the floor of the lone bedroom of the unit at Blackwood Apartments along Spruce Avenue. Stolen cars were parked in front of the complex.

“It was a tough case to work,” Carmichael said.

In September, a jury acquitted Javier Acevedo Garcia on a felony charge of accessory, meaning he helped conceal information on the murder after it took place.

The trial took less than a week. Garcia was facing a maximum of three years in prison.

“I would like to thank the jury and it was not my intention to waste your time over here,” Garcia said through a court-certified Spanish interpreter to the jury after the verdict was read.

Carmichael said three people, including Garcia, were arrested and had ties to Bravo’s murder but two of the three were booked on unrelated charges.

All three have been released from custody, Carmichael said.

While some may ask whether tests were run -such as one that can determine who fired a gun from residue left on the person – Carmichael said “it’s all been done.

“By the time we got around to getting names a lot of evidence either had been destroyed,” he said.

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