Cold case: Durham police seek leads in 2016 killing of Cesar Yanez Ortiz, who was shot walking home from the store

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Police Department's Homicide Unit is asking for the public's help in cracking a 2016 cold case killing.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

Officers are looking for new clues in the shooting death of 24-year-old Cesar Yanez Ortiz.

Ortiz was shot and killed on the night of Nov. 29, 2016, outside of the Willowdale Apartments.

His wife, Luz, said she wants justice for her husband.

"As a family, we have always wondered why so much time has passed and the authorities do not find the person who killed him," she said. "So somehow, I am glad that the case is reopened by the authorities and hopefully they can find the person so he can pay for what he did."

Durham Police Sgt. JD Piatt said Ortiz was coming home after shopping with his family when he was approached by a man wearing a white hoodie and jeans, who tried to rob him.

Ortiz was then shot twice and the shooter ran away.

Piatt said Ortiz's stepson witnessed the shooting, but no arrests were ever made.

"I can't say that we haven't generated any leads, I can say this is pretty frustrating that we don't have someone in prison right now," Piatt said.

Per police, there are 35-38 homicides per year, most of which are solved.
For the ones that don't end in an arrest or have any leads or information, the department is hoping to bring them to light again so the victims don't become statistics.

Piatt said the department plans to resurface those cases with the help of the families and media to try to find new or useful information.

In this case, Piatt believes the time of night the crime occurred, around 11 p.m., is partially to blame for a lack of credible leads.

"At 11 o'clock at night, on November 29th it was already pretty dark out," he said. "We've got a couple street lights but again, if no one is standing out here to see it then we don't have a witness, and that's been a really big (sic) pain in our investigation."

Those with information should visit the department's Cold Case page or call CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.