Openly gay Chicagoan Kevin Clewer ( photo courtesy Ron Clewer ) was found murdered in his home on the 3400 block of North Elaine on March 24, 2004, having died from multiple stab wounds. ( He would have celebrated his 36th birthday on April 7, 2008. )
Clewer's killer has not been apprehended. However, Ron Clewer, Kevin's brother, still harbors hope that Kevin's case will have proper closure and that the murderer will be caught. Ron recently talked with Windy City Times about the case and his family.
Windy City Times: What's the latest regarding leads in your brother's case?
Ron Clewer: I haven't spoken to the detective recently, but back in November Kevin's case had been changed from the detective who had been handling it to a cold-case squad. They were going to start at the beginning and review all the stuff. The detectives have said that not much has happened in the past year [ although ] they had followed up on a couple of leads, [ including ] one somewhere east of Chicago, which turned out to be a dead end.
WCT: Are they still looking for someone who fits the description of 'Fernando' [ the person of interest wanted for questioning, featured on www.4chicagokev.com ] ?
RC: Well, supposedly all indications are that Kevin met this gentleman in a bar that night—but the one thing that I was surprised to hear is that they're not necessarily saying that 'Fernando' killed Kevin but that he was one of the last people to see him alive, so they'd like to talk to him. [ The detectives ] don't know if 'Fernando' isn't rising to the surface, if you will, because he did so something or if he's scared he's going to be blamed for something he didn't do, so they're still looking to the community to help uncover where he is.
WCT: Is there something the family does on Kevin's birthday, like a memorial?
RC: We were doing public memorials prior to the passing of my parents. [ Clewer's parents, Pamela Lynn Clewer Hansen Cunningham and James Clewer, died within weeks of each other in 2005. ] It took a while to get beyond the numbness of it all.
As a family, we had been pushing to find answers to Kevin's case. When my mother passed, I was talking with the media and it was kind of hard. When my father passed away, it was too much; I had to step back for a little bit and say, 'I just can't do this right now.'
I think that kind of pushed folks away [ and ] it's been really hard to express interest in it. I realize that it's not out there any more and that there are a lot of other things out there, but I put up a wall to protect myself and pushed the media away, which was not my intent at all; I just couldn't do it.
WCT: How have you been able to deal with everything?
RC: I don't know. With my mom, it all happened so damn fast, to be honest with you. With Kevin's passing, I was very focused on finding answers—but my parents were aging and making themselves ill over it. When my mom got sick, it was like this light bulb went off; she didn't even know she was sick. She had lung cancer and cancer throughout all her internal organs. She thought she was tired and that she had some kind of cold.
She went into the hospital on a Sunday and passed away that Wednesday after she was put into a medically induced coma on that Monday. … I went by the hospital that Wednesday night. I started to doze off and the monitor went off; they said it was nothing, but I had this bizarre feeling. So I stood up and said to her, 'When they bring you out of this, if it's really serious, it's going to be painful for you. I don't want you to fight it because I know you really feel you need to be with Kevin. I want you to do what's best for you.' Two minutes later, her monitor went off. They told me that she was going into cardiac arrest, and the doctor [ who they got on the phone ] told me that my mom had lung cancer and brain cancer, so I had to make a decision [ whether to revive her ] . I said, 'I don't want her to suffer for me,' and she passed away 30 seconds later.
Then, [ a few weeks later ] my dad passed away. I got a call from my dad's job. Even though I was told that everything would be OK because they told me that he had [ merely ] passed out, I knew [ the truth ] . It all just kind of happened, and I don't know how I found the strength.
Anyone with information should contact Detective Steve Schorsch at 312-746-9690 or Cook County Crimestoppers at 800-535-7867 ( for those who wish to remain anonymous ) , or visit www.4ChicagoKev.com .