CHICAGO (CBS) — Nine years ago today Chicago learned of a violent murder in a neighborhood considered to be among the safest. Kevin Clewer had been stabbed to death the night before in his apartment in the 3400 block of north Elaine Place. The killing was especially brutal – Clewer, 31, suffered more than three dozen stab wounds.

At the time of the killing, police identified a known Boystown hustler and escort, “Fernando” as the prime suspect in Clewer’s murder and circulated fliers with a sketch of the man. Detectives scoured the city and conducted a nationwide, even international manhunt for the man for months with no luck.
But now, we’ve learned that Chicago Police did locate Fernando, questioned him and administered a polygraph test. A source says CPD released Fernando after he passed at least one polygraph test.

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On this ninth anniversary of the killing, the Clewer family confirms it has enlisted the help the Morton College Institute for Cold Case Solution in Cicero. George Seibel, a former veteran Chicago Police violent crimes detective is the institute’s executive director.

“After holding him for several days and questioning him, they (CPD detectives) became convinced that Fernando was a material witness and not a suspect,” said Seibel.

Seibel has been conducting his own investigation into Clewer’s murder and thinks the focus should be shifted to a third individual who is known to police and was questioned but not considered to be a suspect. That individual was with Clewer the night of the murder.

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Having reviewed the case in detail, Seibel is also critical of the initial CPD investigation. “It’s clear now that they didn’t try very hard,” he said. Seibel declined to provide specific examples because he doesn’t want jeopardize the current cooperation he’s receiving from the CPD Cold Case unit. “This case is solvable,” he added and promised to continue the investigation.

Sketch of the suspect who murdered Kevin Clewer.  (Sketch provided by Clewer family)

Sketch of the suspect who murdered Kevin Clewer. (Sketch provided by Clewer family)

Immediately after the Clewer killing, leaders in Chicago’s gay community and members of Clewer’s family were openly critical of the police department’s handling of the case. The gay community accused police of having a “gay bias” and protested loudly after it took detectives weeks to issue a community alert about the possible threat.

Clewer’s parents took on an active role in finding their son’s killer and went almost weekly to Boystown to hand out fliers and look for leads. Tragically, they both died near the one-year anniversary of the murder and just a month apart from each other.

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Chicago Police have so far not responded to Newsradio’s request for comment on the status of the Clewer investigation.