Finding Kevin Clewer's killer: Cold case gets renewed interest

Kevin Clewer was brutally killed in his Boystown apartment 15 years ago.

Now, the case is taking an international turn with detectives relying on new technology and tips for clues.

It was March 24, 2004. It was a night Kevin Clewer’s brother will never forget.

“He said he was moving to Boys Town because he wanted to feel like he was safe and he had more people like him around him. And I actually believed that he would be,” said Ron Clewer.

Fifteen years later, Kevin’s killer still walks free.

Detective John Campbell spoke to FOX 32 at Roscoe’s bar, which is the place where Kevin met a man known as Fernando.

“Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, having a good time. And then something horrible happened,” Campbell said.

The two men left Roscoe’s with Kevin’s friend John. They went to Little Jim’s bar close by. Then, Kevin and Fernando went back to Kevin’s place.

The next day, Kevin’s mom got a call from his job.

“He didn’t show up at work today, and work called her. And that was more of a realization that there must be something seriously wrong,” brother Ron said.

“They ended up going through the front door and going to Kevin's apartment and that would be where Kevin was killed,” Detective Campbell said.

Kevin was stabbed over 50 times in what some believe was a crime of passion.

“That's a very, very personal way of killing somebody,” Campbell said.

After the murder, the man known as Fernando disappeared with just a few clues about him: a busboy working at a restaurant off of I-55 and 83.

“Good looking male Hispanic with a European type accent,” Campbell said.

Fifteen years later, the case is still cold. But with fresh eyes, Detective Campbell is trying a new approach to solve Kevin’s case. He was brought on the case about two years ago and enlisted the help of the FBI to get fingerprints from the scene, registered in Europe.

“Part of our investigation revealed that Fernando may have been from Spain or Portugal, that came from conversations that he had with other people at the bars the night before,” Campbell said.

Campbell also says technology at the state's police crime lab has improved dramatically with new ways to match DNA evidence from cold cases to new ones. He's also speaking out against reports that the now-infamous Fernando has been identified.

“We've talked to numerous Fernandos, we've talked to hundreds of people,” Campbell said. “The Fernando that left with Kevin Clewer and his friend John has not been identified by us yet.”

Campbell says all of Kevin’s friends have cooperated, leaving a question mark zeroing in on Fernando as a person of interest, but not necessarily a suspect.

“It’s the information that’s wanted, not him as an individual. He just happens to have knowledge. And that’s a different approach than we’ve had in the past,” brother Ron said.

“Talking to Fernando would answer a lot of questions, definitely. And it's the one piece of the puzzle that we don't have an answer for,” Campbell said. “Hopefully someone's out there and has that information that we need to identify who this Fernando is."

The renewed attention gives renewed hope to Ron, who has never given up on finding his brother’s killer.

“Time has changed a lot of things, but it hasn’t changed that there are people who care and want to know,” Ron said.

Cook County Crime Stoppers recently offered up a $1,000 cash reward for any information leading to an arrest in the case.