The Justice Files: Double murder in South Ogden remains unsolved

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SOUTH OGDEN Utah (ABC4 Utah) – It was the wrong place at the wrong time.
And it cost two men their lives.

In December of 2016, Kevin Nelson and Cyle Vankomen were murdered inside a home in South Ogden and their killers have yet to be arrested. They were shot to death by intruders who appeared to have stalked the home at 3636 S. Ogden Avenue.

Surveillance video captured three suspects who appeared to have been stalking the home prior to the murders.

“It’s creepy,” said Ranae Finch, the mother of Vankomen. “I think that it’s creepy that they’re out there watching.”

Among those inside were three brothers including 24-year-old Vankomen who was renting along with five others. Finch is the mother to two of the brothers and a step-mother to the third.

“They were hungry and they were going to leave to go get something to eat and Cyle’s neighbor came over,” Finch said.

Neighbor Kevin Nelson lived next door. His family said he was a fixture in the neighborhood and was friends with everyone he met.

Meanwhile outside, the surveillance video released by South Ogden police in 2016 showed a third person joined the suspected killers.  Little did those inside realize they were being watched.

According to Finch, once Vankomen’s brothers left, the people outside approached the home.
The surveillance video showed two men walking near the windows, ducking at times when they passed a lighted window.  Inside the home were Vankomen, his roommate and Nelson.

J.J. Vankomen, the father of Cyle said the two brothers returned quickly. 

“He was gone 5 to 10 minutes was all and when he returned he found his brother deceased on the floor with some gunshot wounds,” said J.J. Vankomen.

Vankomen’s roommate fled.  Another roommate was outside smoking a cigarette when the break-in occurred.  Police said he was held at bay by one of the gunmen. He was eventually shot but survived.

Kevin Nelson’s brother and nephew said Nelson also died inside the home.

“I think my uncle was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said nephew Ralph Nelson Jr. 

The suspects took off on foot and left few clues for police.

“They had masks on,” said J.J. Vankomen.  “They had what was described to us as paintball masks on which concealed their identity and he didn’t recognize the voices.”

South Ogden police arrived to find Nelson and Vankommen already dead.  Three years later, the trail remained cold.

“We think about Uncle Kevin all the time,” said his nephew. “His birthday’s coming up this Thursday, March 14.” 

Vankomen’s mother also agreed that her son wasn’t the target of the suspects.

“I think, why him? Period. It’s what we all think,” Finch said holding back tears.  “Just why him at all?  Why?  It just doesn’t make sense.”

As for motive, police said it’s a possible robbery.  Over the last three years, they’ve questioned more than 70 people.  A search warrant did name a person of interest who lived nearby.  But police said his alibi panned out.  They hope someone from the past who knows these killers will step up and give two families closure.

“We’re pretty patient,” said Nelson.  “We’re pretty patient. Myself, I’ve given this to the Lord.”
 
Finch said her son and step-son who left the home in search of food were fortunate they left when they did.

“We’re very thankful we didn’t lose all three of our boys that night,” she said. “It’s hard for them to have to live with that night too.”

South Ogden police said they’ve ruled out Vankomen’s roommates.  And they’ve questioned the roommate’s friends as well.  A detective said they still get occasional tips and will continue to investigate any new information they receive.  To contact a police detective in South Ogden, call 801-622-2822.

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