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Portland's Unsolved Murders: Families hoping for help and that one tip

Portland's Unsolved Murders: The victims. Top row, left to right: Paul Krekeler, Maurice Gatson and Michael Olson. Bottom row, left to right: Randy Willard Jr. and Larry Ma. (Contributed photos)

“I mean it's seven years of misery for us,” says Randy Willard Sr.

It's been seven years since someone shot and killed Randy Willard Jr. in his Portland apartment.

Seven years with few answers. Seven years with Randy's killer still out there somewhere.

“It's tough to lose a son, to lose a loved one in your life,” says Randy Willard Sr. "And to live without him and to wonder every day why and how. It's just not to bed yet. We just need to somehow solve this case.”

It's been so long that Randy's children now have children of their own.

“Has a grandson now that will never meet,” says his children’s mom, Diana Pearson. “He'll never meet his grandfather. Kids growing up without him. So it's been really hard, really hard."

Hard too for Jim and Sandy Olson.

Their son Michael was robbed, shot and killed on his way home from work in Southeast Portland three and a half years ago.

Michael’s murderer still has not been found.

“We would just like to see justice for him,” says Sandy Olson. “And if someone knows something, they should come forward. You know, we always try to teach our children that there's a consequence for all of your actions. Well, somebody needs to face up to the consequences of this.”

It's the same for friends and family of Larry Ma, shot and killed in his car in July 2011.

“That's when I found the neighbor over here trying to give the young man CPR. But he passed away in the process,” says Derryl Cummings, who saw Ma's car after it crashed on the street in front of Cummings’s home.

“Yeah, was a pretty sad thing because, apparently, he was dying on the way down the street from a park,” says Cummings. “Apparently, the shooting happened right up at the park.”

And there's more.

Paul Krekeler was shot and killed in Southeast Portland near the intersection of Southeast 57th and Harold in July 2014.

Maurice Gatson was shot and killed in Southeast Portland in 2015, a crime that's still unsolved.

Gatson's widow Lashaunda pushed a reward to $15,000 and is making plans for another billboard in the search for Maurice's killer.

They are all unsolved murders and maybe one tip away from catching the killers.

“A knock on the door might be the break that the case needs to open up an investigation and solve the case,” says Portland Police Crime Stoppers coordinator Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Simpson knows that time can make it easier for someone with information about a murder to finally reach out to investigators and to do the right thing.

“Things changed and now they aren't close to that suspect,” says Simpson. “They don't have the same affiliation or alliance or affection for that person. Sometimes people find God. And as part of that process they feel guilt about not saying something.”

The fences where Larry Ma died are fixed. Traffic drives by where Michael Olson was murdered. New homes are going up on the corner where Paul Krekeler was killed. But one thing hasn't changed for these murder victims' families.

“I mean we're all waiting on that, that one call that'll solve the case,” says Randy Willard Sr.

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