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Many years, few answers

Ryan Carter

BURBANK -- It has been 15 years since an off-duty police officer was

killed in the city, but Burbank Police aren’t giving up on the unsolved

case.

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Thursday marked the 15th anniversary of the shooting death of Los

Angeles County sheriff’s deputy and longtime Burbank resident Charles

Anderson. Shortly after midnight on Jan. 24, 1987, the 35-year-old father

was killed as he put his son to bed in their home in the 1700 block of

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West Oak Street.

After several police and sheriff’s department investigations, and

thanks to the advent of DNA technology, Burbank Police are still looking

for Anderson’s killer.

“This case has always haunted us,” said Burbank Police Lt. Tim Stehr,

who is overseeing the investigation. “This is the only off-duty officer

who has been shot in Burbank, and it’s never been solved.”

Since the slaying, the case has been reviewed four times. Binders of

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paperwork, reports and evidence still sit at the department. The gun used

in the killing has not been found.

“We’re hoping somebody will talk,” Stehr said. “We need that one piece

of evidence that will give us the information that will put the killer

behind bars.”

On the night of the killing, Anderson came home with his wife, Beth,

and two children, police said. As he carried his 5-year-old son to bed,

his wife apparently remained in the car with the couple’s 1-year-old to

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collect some items inside. She told police she heard gunshots and ran to

a neighbor’s home for help.

“It’s been difficult for us to clarify what happened because

[Anderson’s wife] has not allowed us to interview her again,” Stehr said.

Police originally thought Anderson walked in on a burglary, but that

theory is changing.

In the late 1990s, a tip prompted a yearlong investigation by two

detectives. No one was arrested at that time in connection with the

killing.

“There were indications that the murder was by someone close to the

victim,” Stehr said, though he declined to elaborate.

Former neighbors find the shift in thinking surprising.

“I find that hard to believe because of the way they were as a

family,” former neighbor Linda Palmowska said, adding the friendly couple

had frequent visitors.

Asked if she was frustrated with the case, Beth Anderson paused.

“I’m frustrated that my husband is not here with me to raise his

children,” she said.

Meanwhile, Anderson’s older sister and Burbank resident, Trish

Belisle, remains hopeful.

“I would really like to have it solved,” she said. “We’ve been so

close we can taste it. But still, until somebody comes forward and gives

more information, it’s going to stay like it is.”

Anyone with information about the slaying is asked to call Burbank

Police detectives at 238-3210.


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