OGDEN -- The cold case investigation into the 2008 death of a man gunned down on a darkened and nearly deserted downtown street is heating up.
A possible suspect has been identified and the l weapon used to kill 47-year-old Jeffrey Bancroft may have been recovered, said Detective Brian Eynon, assigned to the Ogden Police Department's major crimes division.
Eynon, who recently took over the case, has re-interviewed five people who initially spoke with police in the days after Bancroft was shot to death in the early morning hours of Oct. 24, 2008.
The interviews resulted identification of the suspect who Eynon declined to name. "He doesn't even know I'm looking for him," the detective said, adding the individual has not been arrested.
Eynon said he has also recovered a gun connected to the suspect that may have been used in the shooting. The weapon is undergoing a ballistics testing at the Utah State Crime lab to determine if it fired the fatal bullet. Test results should be finalized within a month.
It's unfortunate it's taken police more than 2 1/2 years to get a significant break in the case, but occasionally that's the way murder investigations go, Eynon said.
"Sometimes time become our ally in cases like this and people say things they wouldn't normally say at the onset of the investigation," he said.
Justin Bancroft, 27, of Washington Terrace, who is Jeffrey Bancroft's son, said he's pleased that police have at least identified a possible suspect and hopes they make an arrest soon.
"It's good to hear because it's one less pile of crap off the street if they get the right guy," he said.
Kurtis Bancroft, 25, of Ogden, another son of Jeffrey Bancroft, said he's glad Eynon seems to be making progress in finding the person who killed his father.
"I've been praying every day (for a break in the case)," he said. "That's really great news because I have been trying to find out the truth for justice for my dad and closure for the family."
The truth about what really happened to Jeffrey Bancroft has been hard to come by because the circumstances surrounding his death are so strange.
Jeffrey Bancroft was on a break from his job as a machinist at Williams International in Ogden when he pulled his 1996 beige-colored Honda Accord into the drive-through at Rancherito's, a Mexican fast food restaurant at the corner of 36th Street and Washington Boulevard at 3:10 a.m. on Oct. 24.
The surveillance video above the cashier recorded the scene at 3:17 a.m. as Bancroft paid $4.27 in cash for a steak, egg, and potato burrito and then drove off into the darkness.
Just four minutes later Bancroft was dead in what police have described as a bizarre murder mystery.
Police initially thought Jeffrey Bancroft was killed when his car crashed into the Praxair building at 1903 Wall Ave., but further investigation revealed he had been shot in the back.
Police found a pile of glass in the inside northbound lane of Wall Avenue near the 21st Street intersection which is where the shooting may have occurred, Eynon said. However, it hasn't been determined if the glass came from Bancroft's car, he added.
Kurtis Bancroft said it's difficult for him to pass by the intersection every day, driving to and from his home, because it reminds him of his dad's unsolved murder.
"I take my hat off," he said to show respect for his father.
After he was shot, Bancroft drove north another two blocks, veered across oncoming traffic lanes and smashed his car into the sign in front of the Praxair building, setting off a burglar alarm and alerting authorities.
Bancroft was cut out of the mangled Honda and taken to McKay-Dee Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The car was severely damaged and much of the physical evidence was destroyed in the impact.
Police remain puzzled why Bancroft was slain, but speculate he could be the victim of a carjacking attempt, said Eynon, who described the killing as senseless.
"I really feel bad for his family," he said. "It's just tragic to me that a man died for nothing."