Cold case: Woman wants closure for brothers 1977 murder - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold case: Woman wants closure for brothers 1977 murder

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Allen Hamilton (Family photo) Allen Hamilton (Family photo)

Portland Police Cold Case detectives are working to unravel a 40-year murder mystery.

It's a chase for answers driven in part by a sister's fight to find her brother's killer.

Maggie Clavin, of Tacoma, has long wondered what happened to her brother Allen.

"We had so many good times together," said Clavin. 

Good times, despite a rough up-bringing.

"We've been through too much, a lot growing up. We didn't have the best of homes, it was really a journey, a long journey," Clavin added.

Adult life would later draw them apart and separate them by states.

"We lost touch when I was 21 years of age, he just kind of disappeared and don't know the whole story and no one could help me," Clavin said.

She always hoped for the best, but feared for the worst, as time went by with no word from her brother.

It would be nearly 40 years later when Clavin would get her first clue and it came from an old article in the Oregonian.

"I didn't know it was my brother, but it had the name Allen Hamilton," Clavin said.

That article from 1977 indicated a man by the name of Allen Hamilton died in a drowning. After calling police, she confirmed it was her brother.

"I felt guilty because I wasn't there for him, it's not a good feeling," Clavin said.

Portland police say on August 15, 1977 an employee of the Portland Development Commission found Allen Hamilton's body floating in the Willamette river near the Ankeny pump station. An autopsy showed he was stabbed in the neck, but died as a result of the drowning.

"It was shocking, I couldn't fathom in my own dreams that this would happen to my brother," said Clavin.

It's a case that's gone cold, though detective Jim Lawrence is now hoping to shake up new leads.

"One of the biggest challenges in solving this case is in 1977 detectives were not able to locate and talk to the victim's friends, and his associates were transient by nature," said Lawrence. "The record keeping by agencies that assisted homeless people then are not as good as records are today."

Original detectives on the case learned Hamilton was also homeless and last had contact with police on August 12. The same day he was also seen at the Tacoma Tavern with some friends.

It's possible the group knows something about what happened, which is why investigators are now working to track them down.

"One thing about all of these cases is that we tend to forget who the victims are as a society and that they have family members who care for them," said Lawrence. "Whether, or not Allen Hamilton was involved in criminal activity, it really doesn't matter and that's exemplified by Maggie's efforts to try to get resolution in the case."

Clavin didn't get a chance to say goodbye to her brother, but she can fight for justice. A fight she's now determined to win.

"I want closure for me and my brother, I want to know that things are going to be resolved," said Clavin. "This was a horrible, horrible case and I want to know who did it and why they did it."

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved homicide and tipsters can remain anonymous. Information about any unsolved homicide is eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,500.

Information learned from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube should be shared as these tips may lead to the identification of a suspect or suspects. Links can be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

Submit an anonymous tip:
Text CRIMES (274637) - Type 823HELP, followed by the tip.
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