Cary, known for being safe, sees 3 homicides in 3 months

aspecht@newsobserver.comApril 3, 2014 

— The town is known for being one of the safest in the country, so it might come as a surprise that Cary police have investigated three homicides since the start of the year.

Eriberto Crecencio Bosques, 31, was found dead about 9 a.m. March 29 at the Wash Tub Laundry at 101 Reed St., according to police.

Police have said the homicide of Bosques was not random, meaning the crime was likely committed by someone he knew.

“I can’t comment at all other than to say that it doesn’t appear to be a crime of opportunity,” said Cary police Lt. Steve Fonke, who is leading the investigation. “Given the ongoing investigation, we are extremely limited in what we are willing to say.”

While three homicides in three months is rare in Cary, some say it doesn’t mean the town is becoming more dangerous.

Last fall, Cary, with a population of about 146,000, claimed the lowest crime rate in the nation among cities of similar size.

In 2012, the town had about 14.4 crimes per 1,000 people, based on data for eight crimes tracked by the FBI and analyzed by Cary officials.

Based on crime figures from the first quarter of 2014, Cary is on track to to have lower rates in most crimes than the town saw last year.

In 2013, police investigated 39 robberies, 13 rapes and 55 aggravated assaults. There was one homicide.

Though March 31 of this year, police have investigated seven robberies, two rapes and 19 aggravated assaults.

Raleigh, a city of about 430,000 people, has had five homicides so far this year.

Durham, which has a population of about 240,000, has had seven homicides this year.

A matter of perception

Cary likely isn’t becoming more dangerous, but crime is often a matter of perception for residents, said Josh Mecimore, a spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department.

Chapel Hill hasn’t seen any homicides this year, and police investigated one last year. But Mecimore said he gets calls on a regular basis from residents “who think Chapel Hill is a dangerous place to live after they hear about one person getting robbed.”

People should consider the circumstances of crimes and the rate of a wide range of crimes before making a judgment, Mecimore said.

The last time Cary had three homicides in a year was 2008, when Vanlata Patel, Nancy Cooper and Maria Teresa Herrara-Diaz were killed. Domestic violence was believed to be a factor in all three cases.

Patel’s burned body was found along Interstate 85 in Virginia in September 2008. Her estranged husband, Harish Patel, was arrested and later convicted of murder.

Nancy Cooper was found dead in a Cary subdivision in July 2008. Her husband, Bradley Cooper, was convicted in 2011. He was recently granted a new trial after the state Court of Appeals overturned the conviction.

Arnulfo Barron Cobos, 45, was identified as a suspect in the September 2008 death of Herrara-Diaz. Cobos, who police believe was in a relationship with Herrera-Diaz, was seen fleeing their Cary apartment. His vehicle was recovered in Anson County, but he was never located.

The first two Cary homicides of this year involved people who knew each other.

Police believe Kevin Leroy Bodden, 54, shot and killed his brother, 44-year-old Mark Gregory Bodden, during an argument Feb. 2 at their northwest Cary apartment. Bodden was taken into police custody the same day.

On Feb. 14, Eric Paul Engel, 44, drove from New Hampshire to Cary and shot 74-year-old Aleksander Wysocki, the father of a woman Engel had dated for years.

Engel killed himself after he was confronted by law enforcement in Florida the next day.

Domestic violence cases

Cary hasn’t had a random homicide since 2005, Fonke said.

That year, Miguel Ramirez Cifuentes, 50, was found dead behind a gas station on NE Maynard Road near downtown Cary. His death remains unsolved.

Many of Cary’s homicides over the years have involved domestic violence.

“Unfortunately, domestic violence is a challenge for us,” said Cary Police Chief Pat Bazemore.

The town has added an office at the police station in recent years specifically to help domestic violence victims, she said.

“We are using educational programs to help victims and their loved ones recognize signs and symptoms of abuse and encourage victims to get out of the situation,” Bazemore said. “We are certainly making progress, but the barriers are difficult to cross.”

 

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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