Who killed Tim Egkan? $40K reward offered in mysterious murder of real estate developer
Solve This Crime 12/07/2017 1:25 pm PST
A young entrepreneur filled with promise, passion and a zest for life is at the center of a baffling mystery.
In Stockton, California, police continue to search for the killer who snuffed out the life of a beloved businessman whom many called a visionary.
Tim Egkan, 32, was a trailblazer.
"He was just really a leader," said Tim's father Jeff Egkan. "Focused and driven when he was working on a particular venture."
And according to his friends and family, Tim was a natural-born entrepreneur.
"He started a online business selling car accessories. A couple months after that, that grew by the time he was 15, that grew into large enough business where we had a daily UPS pick-up at our home, so he was very successful with it. At 15," Jeff tells Crime Watch Daily.
After college, Tim set his sights on real estate development.
"He learned everything he needed to about something. He threw himself into something 100 percent," said Jeff.
And soon Tim met his future business partner, Zac Cort.
"They were introduced, and this individual was starting a business redeveloping a portion of downtown Stockton," said Jeff.
Stockton, California, a city in need of a facelift after becoming the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy following the 2008 real estate crash.
"Tim had set aside a fair amount of money that he wanted to invest, and he saw a great opportunity," said Jeff.
And together they created Ten Space, a real estate development company. Zac Cort serves as president and CEO, and Tim takes on the title of chief branding officer, and Jasmine Leek worked right alongside the dynamic duo.
"He had this pretty grand vision of what could be, and he was willing to work every day, hour after hour to make it happen," said Jasmine Leek.
And they are well on their way, over the next two years transforming much of Stockton from blight to bliss by revitalizing properties all over the downtown area.
FOX40 Reporter Kay Recede often covered the groundbreaking work of Tim's company.
"Stockton, it often is in national news for all the wrong reasons. It's a really special place with a lot of potential, and I think that's what Tim Egkan saw in the city of Stockton," said Recede.
But soon others see potential in the city too, when the visionary developers catch the attention of investors from San Francisco.
"People who were interested in maybe buying properties or getting involved in Stockton's redevelopment with their company," said Jasmine Leek.
"That was the start of a very good day," said Jeff Egkan.
That day tragically will end in the worst way. Little does anyone know that these are Tim's final hours.
Jasmine was with Tim the day he turned up murdered. Jasmine spends the day with her boss and potential clients for an afternoon of fun, including food trucks and live music set up outside one of their buildings. Then just before nightfall, Jasmine leaves.
But Tim, along with his wife Katie, business partner Zac Cort and a group of friends, decide to hit the town to celebrate their potential new venture with the investors from San Francisco.
"He was ecstatic about what had happened," said Jasmine. "They liked to work hard and play hard, and so yeah, they were out having a good time and enjoying themselves, bar-hopping."
The group of about eight friends hangs out at a bar in Stockton's Miracle Mile neighborhood. Then sometime after 10 p.m., Tim's wife decides to call it a night. But Tim stays behind to chat with a friend. That is, until --
"Tim got into a scuffle with the bouncer, and then the bouncer then asked Tim to leave," said Jeff Egkan.
So Tim and the rest of his friends head across the street to another bar. And once inside --
"Tim said 'I really want to go,' and then they got up, they walked outside, Tim and his business partner were having a discussion outside, according to the bartender, and then they for some reason got into a fight," said Jeff.
According to people at the bar, when the fight is over, Tim's bleeding.
"Tim was seen walking away in one direction and his business partner was walking a different way a few minutes later," said Jeff.
Eyewitnesses say Tim was headed in the direction of his home. Tragically, he'll never make it.
"And that's when our officers found him laying in the street," Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva. "He was stabbed."
Tim Egkan was found dead just three blocks from his home on September 13, 2015. Was he the victim of a robbery? Or was it something more personal?
California real estate developer 32-year-old Tim Egkan was stabbed, bleeding, laying in the street. It was about an hour after a drunken brawl with his business partner Zac Cort.
"We know that that then ended and was broken up and Tim's business partner and Tim parted ways," said Jeff Egkan.
What motivated the fight?
"We do not know," said Tim's father Jeff Egkan. "We really don't know. I've asked Zac and he can't remember."
Can't remember -- or isn't saying?
"I don't know, I couldn't answer that," said Jeff.
Crime Watch Daily reached out to Tim's partner Zac Cort, but he declined to be interviewed for this story. He has cooperated with police and is not a person of interest in this investigation.
Tim Egkan was only three blocks from his house when he was found lying in the gutter.
"There was a resident in the neighborhood that was arriving home and she found Tim," said Jeff.
In a strange twist of fate, cops are already in the neighborhood responding to a domestic dispute. At the time it seems totally unrelated to the attack on Tim, but that could all change.
Police call for paramedics within minutes, but it's already too late. By the time the ambulance arrives, Tim Egkan is dead.
His family, living in San Diego, more than 300 miles away, receives the tragic early-morning phone call.
"Tim died from a wound to the abdomen. The assumption is it was a stab," said Jeff.
But who stabbed Tim and why? Stockton Police begin an extensive investigation to track down Tim's killer.
"We just assumed it would be a matter of hours or days, and nothing," said Jeff.
No arrest. And after three long months, the family is frustrated. Tim's dad hires a private investigator. But he's no outsider. Jerry Swanson is a former Stockton police detective turned P.I.
"Mr. Egkan came into the office and wanted to hire us to do some additional work on Tim's case, see if there's any new information out there, and that's what we did," said Swanson.
Swanson, with more than 40 years working homicides, hits the streets. We're invited along to join the retired cop and the determined father as they retrace Tim's final hours that fateful night.
"Jeff asked us to come out and canvass the neighborhood, talk to people, put out flyers, let people know that there's a reward," said Swanson.
The first stop is the bar where Tim and his business partner Zac Cort and a small group of friends came to celebrate a potential investment deal.
"Maybe after two, two and a half hours, there was an argument between I believe the bouncer and Tim, and so Tim was asked to leave, and that may have been as late as 10:45," said Jeff.
Then Tim reportedly heads across the street to another bar. The bartender claims he and his business partner stayed for about 20 minutes before leaving.
"And for some reason they got involved in a scuffle, and that from what I understand started here and went out into the street, and then it was broken up shortly after," said Jeff.
"Zac and the friend went that way next door, and Tim was seen walking down the street in that direction, which is the direction home," said Jeff.
So we follow the same route Tim took home that night to the location where he ended up dead. How do we know that Tim walked here and his body wasn't dumped?
"He walked from the east to the west, and we know that because he rounded the corner down at Madison and Poplar around a small grocery store, a neighborhood store. They have a video camera, surveillance, and Tim was caught on that surveillance," said Jerry Swanson.
But as Swanson finds out, this surveillance video isn't the last time Tim was seen that night. Did he glean any new information from when you went out and canvassed the area?
"Yes we did, we talked to a lot of neighbors," said Swanson.
And Swanson uncovers explosive new evidence in the form of two eyewitnesses.
"There were two people sitting out on their porch that saw Tim walk by," said Swanson.
They tell Swanson that Tim looked disheveled and appeared to have a wound on his head.
"They spoke to him real briefly, 'Hey, are you OK?'' He said he was, and kept on walking," said Swanson.
But minutes later, Tim won't be OK. He'll be dead.
Then Swanson discovers something that stops him in his tracks. Remember that call that brought cops to the neighborhood the night Tim was stabbed? Maybe it wasn't so unrelated after all.
Neighbors tell Swanson after Tim's body was discovered, a woman joined them on their porch. And just who was this mystery woman?
"Turned out to be the lady from the domestic violence call," said Swanson.
Neighbors say she goes on to tell them a disturbing story about her boyfriend and Tim.
"The lady said that the boyfriend was in an altercation with Tim across the street, and he walked over to this location and collapsed and apparently died here," said Swanson.
"'He just seized up and laid down' -- her words," said Jeff Egkan.
According to Swanson, this information is a game-changer for the investigation.
"It indicates these two people, if this lady was telling the truth about being there with her boyfriend, that they were on scene about the time that Tim was murdered or that Tim collapsed," said Jerry Swanson.
Swanson says he can now prove this couple -- the two people involved in the domestic call -- were the last two people to see Tim alive. He points to the police logs from that night. There in black and white is a shocking timeline of events.
At 1:29 a.m. Stockton police officers arrive on Poplar Street responding to a domestic disturbance call.
The logs show that at 1:54 a.m. cops respond to an unresponsive male who turns out to be Tim Egkan.
According to the police logs, these two incidents were less than 30 minutes apart and mere feet away happening on the very same street. Coincidence?
"Seems coincidental at least, yes," said Jeff.
But when Jerry Swanson attempts to talk to the couple in question:
"Nobody knew who they were," Swanson tells Crime Watch Daily.
No one knows their names. And making matters even worse, they moved out of their apartment shortly after Tim's murder. Despite not having the couple's names or a known address, Swanson keeps digging.
"With some further investigation, with the property management, who was living there at the time, we came up with a name, the names of the people that were living there," said Swanson.
After that, the persistent private investigator finds the couple's photos on Facebook, along with a new location.
"They had moved to Nevada," said Swanson.
In a totally separate incident, Crime Watch Daily has uncovered this same couple has been involved in another domestic dispute involving a knife. The woman was arrested and accused of cutting her boyfriend with a meat cleaver.
Swanson tracked down that couple and shared his findings with his former colleagues at the Stockton Police Department. Swanson says they've been receptive.
"And recently the detective has gone over there and interviewed both of them. What he found out, I don't know," said Swanson.
But we would like know what cops found out from this mysterious couple now living in Nevada. So we pay Stockton P.D. a visit. Stockton Police Public Information Officer Joe Silva meets me out front for an interview.
"Somebody out there definitely knows something," said Officer Silva.
And could it be the couple in Nevada?
"There was definitely that incident that occurred, and our investigators have been working with the involved people trying to piece together exactly what they saw and what they heard, but at this point it still hasn't generated any type of new information that would help us find and identify a suspect in this case," said Officer Silva.
According to police, the couple in Nevada -- neither the man nor the woman -- are not considered suspects and have never been charged in connection with Tim's death.
Despite the frustration in finding his son's killer, Tim's father continues to push for answers.
"I think somebody saw something, somebody knows something," said Jeff Egkan. "I know your show has millions of viewers, and I hope that one of those viewers is the right person."
The family is now offering a $40,000 reward. Until Tim's murder is solved, his loved ones are having a hard time living with the heartbreak.
"When I see my grandsons, Tim's two nephews, I realize that they're only going to know their uncle through stories and through photos, and it's just not fair," said Jeff.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Stockton Police Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600.
Waiting for your permission to load facebook comments.