It's been two years since Tim Egkan was murdered in Stockton, just a few blocks away from his home.
The real estate developer, originally from San Diego, was found stabbed in the stomach and lying in the gutter on Sept. 13, 2015. He was only 32 years old.
Armando Perez was with him just the day before.
"I stumbled across a saying and the saying is: Happiness is only real when shared, so that saying kind of brought me to this," said Perez, referring to a mural he had painted upon Tim's request. His art usually shows two subjects that are somehow connected.
Listening to Perez now, you can hear the confidence and pride he takes in his art. It's all over downtown Stockton, but it wasn't always that way.
"I was hiding in my room, barely painting. I wanted to do this, but Tim was the one who kind of pulled me out of the chair," said Perez. "Tim is Stockton. He brought people together. He kept on pushing for better and better and better."
Perez is one of many who grew up in Stockton and found a leader in Tim.
"I think that was the biggest eye opener to me is the fact that someone believed in Stockton so much, whereas us Stocktonians didn't really see it the same way," said Perez. "I met him just for a short amount of time, [and I feel this way]. Imagine what his family [feels]."
Jeff Egkan, Tim's father, spoke with ABC10 back in December 2015, three months after the murder. Still with no arrest, he was hoping for answers.
In August 2017, just before the two-year anniversary of Tim's death, he and his wife Theresa attended the Parents of Murdered Children conference in Irvine. The national organization is a support group and the Egkans were looking for people who would understand what it was like to lose a child to violence. They're still hoping for answers.
"We have obviously the death, that's enough of a trauma to have to go through," said Egkan. "[But there are] multiple other layers. Not knowing who did this, not knowing why it was done."
The Egkans said in August 2016, just short of a year after the murder, they were notified that the case was going cold.
"We think the case was cold months before that. We don't think they were actively investigating," said Egkan.
Detective Clifford Johnson with Stockton Police is now looking into the Egkan case. He couldn't go into details because the case is still active.
"A cold case is basically when lead investigators exhausted leads, located witnesses, tried to find witnesses, for some reason case gone cold because no other follow-up can be done at that point in time," said Johnson. "There could be fresher cases, so it's hard to get back to the old case."
Detective Johnson says he's been looking into the case since September 2016, a month after the Egkans said they were notified it was going cold. He is a long-time investigator who came out of retirement to be a police volunteer. He is now working part-time, looking specifically at cold cases.
Detective Johnson is the only one doing so, with the help of an investigator from the District Attorney's office within the last two months. He said there are between 250-300 cold cases in the city of Stockton.
"Is it better to have somebody working the case that maybe can't give you 24/7 or is it better just sitting there collecting dust as a cold case?" said Johnson.
Tim's father said it's hard to hear that there is a dollar figure attached to justice for your loved one's life.
"I was told by a captain, a rhetorical question, he asked when I asked if they could do something 'Well how many man hours would that take...what would that cost?'" said Egkan.
Detective Johnson said he can't speak for wgar the captain is referring to.
"Bottom line is I'm trying to solve a case. Personally, I don't care if they have to send me to England. Whether they're willing to do that, I don't know," said Johnson. "But that's never been a question that came up. With regards to follow-up work with this case, there hasn't been an issue of being allowed to go track somebody down."
"I think it would send a message to the city of Stockton that these cases can be solved," said Egkan, "The opposite message is that our son's life mattered any more than anyone else's, but if you can't solve a case that's in the news, that everybody knows as high profile, what hope does anyone have in the community for the safety or their loved ones?"
As the Egkans try to get through each day of their new lives, justice remains on their mind. They're also remembering the man they know their son was, hoping that somebody who knows something, will finally come forward.
"He really believed in human, in mankind. He had a really good heart," said Egkan.
Tim was the type of person who would put up a skate ramp, just to let teens skate. He would provide warehouse space to keep a library open.
"I would ask 'Tim, how does that help your business?'" said Egkan. "He would say 'Well, it doesn't. It's just the right thing to do.' He was proud he gave jobs to muralists for the sake of doing a mural."
Muralists like Perez, who can't help but be reminded of Tim when looking at the art he inspired throughout the city.
"It's like the connection of love," said Perez, referring to his mural.
Like Armando's art, Tim was that connection of love to Stockton.
"Whenever I look at this, I remember all the positives. Whenever I look at this, it's a reminder how much Tim has accomplished, and what he could've accomplished as well," said Perez. "Whenever I look at this, it's just that Stockton's going in a good direction. It takes a special person do that. Tim was that person."
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