Trail growing cold in the hunt for Ennis Cosby's killer Little progress reported despite tips and rewards

February 16, 1997|By LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS

LOS ANGELES -- The trail to the killer of Ennis Cosby is growing faint. The outrage over his death has been muted by time, in a city where more than two slayings occur every day.

Exactly a month ago, the son of comedian Bill Cosby was shot to death off a freeway off-ramp in the Santa Monica Mountains, as he changed a flat tire on his Mercedes-Benz. Since then, detectives say, they have made little progress in finding the killer, despite some 500 phoned-in tips and hundreds of thousands of dollars offered as a reward.

"It's pretty frustrating," said Los Angeles police Detective Bert Luper, lead investigator on the case. "We have a lot of clues, but when it comes down to it, there isn't much to work on."

The Cosbys have hired a private investigator, Gavin DeBecker, a specialist in stalking, security and domestic violence whose celebrity clientele has included Michael J. Fox and Theresa Saldana.

A family spokesman said the Cosbys have faith in the Los Angeles Police Department.

"What I want to stress, he has not been hired to launch his own investigation," said Cosby spokesman David Brokaw. "He has been hired to help assist the Cosby family in working with the police."

Luper declined to comment on the Cosbys' decision to hire an investigator, and DeBecker declined to comment on his role.

Brokaw said that Bill Cosby has re-immersed himself in his CBS-TV sitcom, "Cosby."

Cosby's wife, Camille, remains grief-stricken.

Brokaw said the Cosby family has received more than 35,000 pieces of mail since the death of their only son.

The handsome 27-year-old was shot just days before he was to return to New York, where he was a student in the doctoral program at Columbia University's Teachers College.

A composite of the gunman was made with the help of the key witness to the slaying, a 47-year-old woman whom Cosby had been driving to meet that night in a Los Angeles suburb.

When the tire went flat, he called her on his cellular phone, and she drove up to light the road. She told police that when she arrived, a man tapped on her window. Scared, she drove off, returning to find Cosby dead.

The tire on the Mercedes-Benz has been sent to an expert at the California Highway Patrol, in the hope of revealing whether any foul play led to the flat, an LAPD spokesman said.

Pub Date: 2/16/97

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