Cold case: Family, Austin police search for answers in 1995 Thanksgiving murder

Nov. 24 will mark the 27th Thanksgiving Stephen Arevalo’s family spends without him. The 30-year-old father was killed on the holiday in 1995. 

"He had two daughters, and he was described as being a good husband and father to those children. Of course, they're grown up now. And they've grown up without their father," said Sgt. Matt Sanders of the Austin Police Department’s Cold Case Homicide Unit. 

Sanders said his department re-evaluated the case and determined that despite technological advances, they do not have forensic evidence worth pursuing. 

"In 1995 those items were left behind, or they were collected, but they were collected in ways that didn't preserve the item for DNA," he said. 

The department hosted a press conference Wednesday morning in an effort to generate new leads. 

"It's hard on family members with anniversaries like this," said Sanders. 

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This upcoming Thanksgiving marks 27 years since Stephen Arevalo was found dead.

Stephen Arevalo’s cousin and brother, Cid Arevalo, dropped him off alone at 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving in an alley behind his home on the 900 block of East 6th Street. 

"If you know something, say something, please. We’d like closure not only for us but especially our mom," said Cid Arevalo.

Two hours later, another relative saw the light on in a backyard shed that Stephen Arevalo liked to spend time in with family and friends. They also saw a mid 1980s black GMC or Chevrolet pickup truck speeding out of the alley. 

"We have the information about the truck and that's really it. A lot of times we get details in cases that may or may not even be related. We follow up on the black truck, put a lot of energy into a black truck. So any information that might lead to who he was with, who he talked to last, those kinds of details are important. And they can break a case like this open for us," said Sanders. 

Around 6 a.m. a family member found Stephen Arevalo unconscious with fatal stab wounds. They had woken up to make coffee and noticed the home's back screen door was open. 

The Austin Police Department is asking anyone with information to contact them. The department can be contacted anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS (8477) or through the Crime Stoppers App. Crime Stoppers may offer a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. The APD Cold Case-Homicide Unit can also be reached at: