South Ogden double homicide case remains open

David Burage and Sadie Warren write messages on balloons to pay tribute to Kevin Nelson and Cyle Vankomen during a candlelight vigil at the city hall and park in South Ogden Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Vankomen, 24, and Nelson, 61, were killed in a double homicide at 3636 Ogden Ave. Police Lt. Dwight Ruth said Wednesday, July 12, 2017, the investigation remains active.

SOUTH OGDEN — The killings of Cyle VanKomen and Kevin Nelson on a cold December night remain under investigation, and police still hope someone will come forward with information to break open the case.

“We have not been able to bring this to a successful conclusion yet, but our efforts have not even slowed down,” Lt. Dwight Ruth, in charge of major investigations for the South Ogden Police Department, said Wednesday, July 12.

Nelson, 61, and VanKomen, 24, were shot to death the evening of Dec. 9, 2016, in a home at 3636 Ogden Ave. by two men who broke in as a third suspect remained outside, police said. A third victim was shot but recovered.

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Police continue to sift through leads gathered in the early aftermath of the crime and still receive new information from time to time, Ruth said. The house where the shootings occurred has new tenants, he added, and nearby residents interviewed in April said the neighborhood had returned to normal.

“We’re still looking for people to come forward with information ... so we can bring an end to this horrific act and bring some peace to the families,” Ruth said.

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south ogden homicide surveillance footage 121316 diptic

This image shows stills from surveillance footage taken Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, outside 3636 Ogden Ave. in South Ogden the night two men were shot and killed at the home. The footage shows three suspects. South Ogden Police Department showed the footage Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, at a press conference.

Police said people with tips about the case should contact the Weber Dispatch Center at 801-629-8221.

Ralph Nelson Jr., Kevin Nelson’s nephew, said Wednesday he is staying confident.

“I do think it is going to be solved,” he said. 

Kevin Nelson, who lived next door, was visiting at VanComen’s at the time of his murder.

“My uncle just happened to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time,” Ralph Nelson said.

Police remain reticent to disclose further details of the circumstances surrounding the homicides.

“I wish we could solve it today,” Ruth said, but some homicide cases can take years, dependent upon new leads and more information to investigate.

“It’s never going to go on a cold case file,” Ruth said.

The Ogden Avenue shootings are one of two homicide cases remaining open in South Ogden, Ruth said. The other case resulted in a conviction and the defendant is on Utah State Prison’s death row, but the victim’s body still has not been found.

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Doug Lovell, now 59, was convicted in 2015 of the 1985 murder of Joyce Yost of South Ogden and he received a death sentence. Police said Lovell killed Yost to prevent her from testifying against him in a rape trial. 

Ruth said Lovell gave police several locations where Yost, 39, may have been buried, but her body never was found. So the Lovell file remains open.

Attorneys for Lovell, meanwhile, have appealed his death sentence to the Utah Supreme Court, arguing clergy were prevented from fully testifying about his remorse. The high court in March temporarily remanded the case to 2nd District Court in Ogden so attorneys can work through some questions about the testimony.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at or 801-625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt and like him on Facebook at 

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