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Tuesday, Feb 05 2013 12:03 AM

Who, why? Families and friends of murder victims want answers

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Larry Dale Reagan, 45, who was murdered Sept. 28, 2012, had a record, but friends and family member say he was turning his life around. They are frustrated that there has apparently been no progress in the murder investigation.

James Earl Motts, 54, was murdered on Oct. 18, 2012, and Tehachapi Police have said they believe there is a connection between his murder and Reagan’s, but no arrests have been made.

Pain and grief are now giving way to frustration and anger for families and friends of two Tehachapi murder victims.

Despite some leads, authorities have made no arrests in either the Sept. 28, 2012, shooting deaths of 45-year old Larry Dale Reagan on Old West Ranch, or 54-year old James Earl Motts in Tehachapi's Ashe Village on Oct. 18, 2012.

The families are horrified by the thought that the killer or killers are still out there and feel that they have been neglected by the Tehachapi Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff's Office, who they say are not adequately informing them of new developments in both cases.

Kathleen Reagan said she feels that her brother-in-law's murder is just being swept under the rug by law enforcement because he had a record.

"I realize that the city may just look at it like one less person on the streets to have to deal with," she said. "Yes, Larry did his fair share of wrongs as most people with the disease of addiction do, but that does not matter, what matters is why the police are doing nothing."

Meanwhile, a neighbor to Motts, the man who was shot in the head in his own driveway, is also angry that police have not announced the arrest of the murderer that took his friend's life. Andrew Chatos said he has even gone as far a writing letters to city council members in hopes of getting answers, but so far his pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

"Whom do I need to build a fire under," Chatos asked. "We want information on what is happening with the investigation."

But not everyone thinks police are dragging their feet. Motts' daughter Holly said that she know things take time, and even if law enforcement is able to catch her father's killer, it wouldn't undo anything that has happened.

She said she just hopes people who knew her dad don't become frustrated enough to take things into their own hands.

According to both police agencies there are no new developments in either case and they haven't said whether they have any suspects.

However, Reagan claims police aren't working every lead.

"There are people out there that know what happened to him (Larry) and a few of these people were with him the night it happened," she said. "I know for a fact from my own investigation there are three people that are not talking and they know way more that they let on to know."

Early on in the investigation, law enforcement announced they had identified persons of interest and that the two murders may be gang related and linked to each other. That information prompted police to execute a search warrant in the 900 block of Valerie Lane on Oct. 18. But police are being tight-lipped about anything that may have turned up related to the two cases.

Nevertheless, Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode did tell the Tehachapi News that the two agencies communicate regularly about the cases.

"Our investigations are continuing and we are waiting for forensic analysis on some evidence," he said. "Beyond that, we are not releasing any additional information."

Calls to the Kern County Sheriff's office for both cases on Monday were not returned.

While it is still unclear why Reagan may have been targeted, what is clear according to Reagan's cousin Steve Dyess, is that he was the type of person that helped others, which sometimes pulled him back into a life he was trying to leave.

"If Larry could tell us one last thing," Dyess wrote in Reagan's obituary. "He would probably say 'not to judge others; always try to look beyond the bad; because there's good in all of us.'"

That mantra could have been Reagan's down fall, as many family members believe that he was most likely a victim caught in the middle of helping someone else with their problem.

Meanwhile, Motts' murder is even harder for relatives to understand.

"I don't know who would want to hurt him," said Motts' widow Sarah just a day after discovering her husband's body in the couple's driveway. "He was good man."

So, while investigators continue to search for clues, the friends and family members of the victims would like closure.

"We are not asking for much, only to see the people behind bars that did this," Reagan said. "I know that when you do wrong it always comes back to you, but to be forgotten is sad."

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