The family of a Columbian man killed in a violent group attack on an Edmonton street is hopeful a reward for information will generate new leads that will bring the perpetrators to justice.
“They appreciate these steps as a proper and adequate measure,” said Andres Talero, consul general of Colombia based in Calgary who is acting as a liaison between Leonardo Duran Ibanez’s family in Colombia and Edmonton police. “They were expecting that something like that would have happened shortly after the crime itself because in any criminal investigation, time is of the essence.
“They feel much better now, and they think that is a very positive measure. They hope that the reward is going to (encourage) some leads to help the police find out where or who are the perpetrators.”
Ibanez, 42, was visiting with family members in Edmonton on a two-month trip from his native Columbia when he and his brother-in-law were jumped by a group of six people – four men and two women – near 97 Street and 119 Avenue as they made their way home late on Nov. 13, 2016.
Ibanez and his brother-in-law, Elias Malkum, tried to escape the random attack to no avail. Malkum suffered repeated blows to the face trying to fend of the attackers while Ibanez was pushed to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the head.
The attackers fled leaving Ibanez unconscious in the street. Ibanez died in hospital that afternoon.
Malkum survived the attack.
Talero said the random killing has left Ibanez’s family with more questions than answers, and they are hopeful a new $40,000 reward offered by police will encourage those who know what happened to come forward.
“We’re hopeful these reward moneys will be the impetus to motivate someone to come forward with critical information that will significantly advance these investigations,” said EPS Homicide Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter in a written press release announcing new rewards offered in five investigations at the end of April.
“Most importantly, however, our priority as investigators is to deliver some answers to family members and loved ones who have struggled with the nightmare of not knowing what happened to their loved ones for far too long.”
Talero said bringing the perpetrators to justice will not only bring a sense of closure to Ibanez’s family, but a sense of peace to those citizens of Edmonton shocked by the violent and seemingly unprovoked attack.
“You want to know what is going on in your city and you want to prosecute and prevent and punish any behaviour that undermines the common safety that everyone should enjoy,” Talero said.
Talero added that Ibanez’s family is thankful for the ongoing support they have received from the Edmonton police and the people of Edmonton.
After Talero said the cost of transporting Ibanez’s remains back to his family in Columbia were covered with the assistance of victim’s services, funds raised through a GoFundMe campaign were given to Ibanez’s son to help cover the costs of his tuition.
“That was the first concern of everyone, what is going to happen to that boy?” Talero said, adding the family is grateful his son will not have to lose his future after losing his father.
Edmonton police issued new rewards in connection to these five ongoing investigations:
Dylan Koshman, 21: Koshman was last seen on Oct. 11, 2008 after leaving a residence near 104 Street and 33 Avenue. Police consider the circumstances of his disappearance as suspicious. The homicide section has taken over this investigation.
David Labelle, 30: Labelle was murdered on Nov. 2, 2014 in a residence near 133 Street and 155 Avenue. According to investigators, multiple people were inside the residence at the time.
Robert Loyer, 46: Several people were seen fleeing the scene near 106 Avenue and 96 Street where Loyer was found seriously injured on May 5, 2016. Loyer later died in hospital as a result of injuries caused by blunt force trauma.
Gherezghiher (Gary) Yemane, 63: Yemane was out for an evening walk when he was shot multiple times near Ozerna Road on May 27, 2016. Police believe the shooting was random.
Leonardo Duran Ibanez, 42: Ibanez was walking home with his brother-in-law on Nov. 13, 2016, when the pair were randomly attacked near 119 Avenue and 97 Street by a group of six people. While his brother-in-law survived the attack, Ibanez died in hospital as a result of his injuries.