Cold case: Was Portland woman's murder a case of mistaken identi - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold case: Was Portland woman's murder a case of mistaken identity?

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Cold case detectives say it's possible a Portland woman's murder was a case of mistaken identity.

Lachelle Banks, 27, was shot and killed at a friend's apartment on June 6, 1998.

Her killer still walks free.

The question of who killed her and why weighs heavily on her father, George Banks.

“It's been kind of devastating since all this has happened,” he said. “Over the years, just waiting and waiting. Don't know what happened to my daughter you know.”

Lachelle Banks is the second child George Banks has lost to violence.

“We spent a lot of time together,” he said. “I miss her very much.”

On the night she was killed, Lachelle Banks, a mother of three, was at a friend's apartment on the 5200 block of Northeast Irving.

The women were looking through the want ads for a better job and watching television.

“There must have been a knock at the door or something at the door that alerted Lachelle to get up to the front door,” said Detective James Lawrence, with the Portland Police Bureau's Cold Case Homicide Unit.

Lachelle Banks was met with gunshots.

Her friend, who was in the shower, hid until the noise stopped and then ran for help.

“It's clear that the person that shot Lachelle intended to kill whoever they were targeting,” said Lawrence.

But it's not clear if the shooter meant to kill Lachelle Banks.

Lawrence said it's possible the shooter meant to kill her friend instead, in retaliation for her involvement in some criminal cases.

They're also investigating the possibility Lachelle Banks was followed to her friend's apartment.

Police received a tip she fought with someone the day she was killed during a picnic at Penninsula Park.

They also learned Lachelle Banks had recently fought with a friend, an older man who had turned on her over money.

“We need people to actually explain to us why this or that is a viable theory or not a viable theory,” said Lawrence.

At first, George Banks did not want to know who killed his daughter.

“I said maybe it's best for me I don't know, cause I was so angry at the time,” he said.

But all these years later, George Banks wants to know who killed his daughter.

He knows the relief closure can bring.

His stepson, Darrin Ezell, was murdered in Portland in 1995.

That case went cold too, but four suspects were indicted in the case last year.

George Banks wants the same closure for his daughter.

“Whoever knew anything about it, they need to come forward,” he said. “Because it could happen to them. If it was their family, they would want to know. Come forward, tell what they know.”

If you have any information about this crime, contact Lawrence at 503-823-0867 or James.Lawrence@PortlandOregon.gov

You can also leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at crimestoppersoforegon.com, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.

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