A year later, Anchorage police again asking for help solving double murder

Casey Grove

Anchorage homicide detectives are renewing their plea for help in solving the January 2013 murder of two men inside a Mountain View apartment they shared.

On the one-year anniversary of the deaths of Gary Erwin, 67, and Melvin Kosbruk, 38, the detectives are again asking for tips they hope will lead to the roommates' killer.

When Kosbruk's mother could not reach him Jan. 13, 2013, she became worried and asked a landlord to open the locked Irwin Street apartment, said Monique Doll, a homicide detective assigned to the case. The landlord and Kosbruk's mother went inside and found the bodies, Doll said Tuesday.

"It was immediately apparent to them that neither Mr. Kosbruk nor Mr. Erwin needed medical assistance, that they were both passed, and that this was a homicide investigation," Doll said.

Doll said evidence at the crime scene showed someone else killed the two men, rather than one killing the other and then himself. The detective would not say how police know that or how the men were killed but described their deaths as "particularly heinous and brutal." There was no indication that either of them was involved in criminal activity -- selling drugs, for example -- or that they had a large amount of cash in the home, Doll said.

"There is no instant motive for the crime apparent," she said.

Detectives have so far interviewed more than 50 people in the course of their investigation, Doll said. They have identified persons of interest that include potential witnesses and a possible suspect or suspects, but, as the case remains unsolved, no charges have been filed.

"At this point, we're appealing to the persons that saw something, the persons that heard something, the persons that know something, we're appealing to them to come forward and give us the information that's going to allow us to link all of the individual elements that we have," Doll said.

It is not uncommon for detectives to take a year or more, maybe several years, to solve a case, said Michael Couturier, a sergeant helping oversee the Erwin-Kosbruk investigation.

"We tend to solve ours pretty quick around here, because of the size of the community, and the networking within the community and, frankly, the trust that we have with our citizens that come forward that they'll be treated fairly for the purpose that they're coming for, that case," Couturier said. "We're not worrying about other issues during that time."

Police ask that anyone with information on the year-old double homicide call them at Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP or deliver tips to anchoragecrimestoppers.com. Crime Stoppers has the ability to pay up a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4343. Twitter updates: twitter.com/kcgrove.