PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Once the sun set on Jan. 25, 2012, the temperature plunged. It was one of those freezing cold nights where everyone just wants to stay inside.
Not Richard Cruz though. He was a regular character in downtown Pawtucket, as Detective Ray Doran describes it.
“Everybody downtown knew him,” Doran recalled.
Cruz had just finished his taxes and was headed home. As he walked across the traffic island between School Street and Broadway, he ran into someone. They started yelling about something.
“Some of the students in the Sawyer School at the time had heard the argument and took a peek outside,” Doran said.
The school overlooked the intersection. They had a clear shot at Cruz and the other person. They couldn’t make out who they were or what they were shouting at each other.
“Because of the lighting, they could tell it was two people there,” Doran said. “They couldn’t get any other features on it. When you’re that close, it’s frustrating.”
On a typical night, there would be many eyewitnesses to rely on much closer. Doran believes that chill in the air kept everyone away and took away first-hand accounts of what happened on that traffic island.
The person Cruz was arguing with stabbed him several times. Cruz ran for his life up School Street to Main Street and collapsed outside the Apex.
He died there.
His family and friends held a candlelight vigil hoping answers would soon follow.
“He didn’t deserve this,” his cousin Robert Cruz said that night.
“It’s just not right,” his niece Teianna Cruz said through tears.
“We just want this solved,” family friend Tammy Dureault said. “We don’t want this to be an unsolved case.”
But that’s what happened.
To hopefully solve this investigation, detectives added the case to a deck of playing cards. Each card highlights an unsolved homicide or missing person case in Rhode Island.
Richard Cruz is the 3 of clubs.
“We need somebody to come forward and start talking about what had happened,” Doran said. “Somebody out there knows what happened.”
He said the murder weapon was never recovered but added that the weapon was distinct.
“Every day when I drive by it, I think about that night,” Doran said. “What could have happened? Where could somebody have gone? What did we miss?”
He wants to eventually make an arrest.
“I’m hoping,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-877-RI-SOLVE.