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Arizona detectives are in Fresno investigating two grisly killings

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Three years after a Fresno County man was found dead in Arizona, family members and law enforcement are pleading for help in the case.

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Dan Kruser's body was found floating in the Colorado River back in April of 2009. Investigators there say he had been shot in the head.

In a bizarre twist, Kruser was questioned as a witness in a high-profile Fresno County murder case. Two Arizona investigators are handling this case. While they're not quite sure exactly where Kruser was killed, they do believe people in the Valley know what happened, which is why they're here.

As for Kruser's family, they're hoping the visit will finally bring them closure. "We don't know that he wasn't killed here."

Linda, who prefers we not use her last name, says while it's been three years since her brother was found murdered in the Colorado River, time has sat still.

Linda said, "People always tell you with time it gets easier. It really doesn't get easier especially with all the unknowns in this case."

Detectives say Dan Kruser had been shot once in the back of the head. His truck was found abandoned in Parker, Arizona, a town on the California-Arizona border.

Detective Jeff Brown with the Arizona Department of Public Safety has three theories on what may have happened. One of which involves Kruser planning his own death.

Detective Jeff Brown said, "Mr. Kruser was at the end of his rope as far as financial problems and he may have enlisted the aid of someone to murder him."

Another possibility could be Kruser's connection to a 2009 murder case out of Fresno County. 27-year-old Maria Padilla was shot and dismembered in a motel formerly known as the Knights Inn.

Several months later, her bones were discovered dumped on Kruser's property near Shaw and Jameson. Padilla's boyfriend, Lorenzo Sepulveda and his former boss Alex Harwell took a plea deal for the crime. Harwell and Kruser were friends, as well as business partners.

Investigators say Harwell and Sepulveda may have tried to frame Kruser for the crime; but instead, he wound up dead.

"Do you think they know what happened to your brother?"

"There is that possibility."

"He was involved with a lot of people. A lot of people are still in the Valley and I know someone out there knows something."

The third theory is that Kruser was killed by someone else for unknown reasons.

Detectives are pushing forward with this case now because they say with the Padilla case now closed, they were able to put resources back into Kruser's murder.

Anyone with information related to the death of Dan Kruser is asked to contact Detective Jeff Brown at (602) 223-2331 or (602) 292-7495.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
cold case, crimetracker, murder, local
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