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Anita recalls what looked like a cigar burn on his shirt. "I think somebody shot him in the back." She remembers the crucifix key ring that had fallen from his hand. His slip-on sandals were found in the front-yard grass alongside fluttering money that he had dropped.
"I don't remember there being a lot of blood," Anita says. At 2:30 a.m., the police activated the murder squad, and Detective Mike Hutcheson was assigned to lead the investigation. In discussions with the Pitch, Hutcheson offered few details. But he did acknowledge that there were many leads.
"We had a lot of people who saw a lot of things," Hutcheson says.
One witness reported seeing someone walking in front of the house, though no one was seen running away. Police were able to locate the pinstriped car Anita saw. "They had nothing to do with it," Hutcheson says. Apparently the occupants had simply chosen a coincidental time to turn around.
Anita can't believe the suspicious car wasn't involved. "They can tell me from now until the Eiffel Tower falls over, and I still won't believe it," she says.
Frustrated that the murder investigation was taking so long, Pat Wells e-mailed John Walsh, the host of America's Most Wanted. She even made an appearance on the show, choking out the story of Corbin's murder in her grief. Walsh consoled her. "Today is about justice," he said before turning to the camera to ask viewers to call with any information about the murder.
Walsh also offered the help of a criminal profiler he uses on the show. But the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department refused to let the woman look at the file.
"When I get a chance to work on it, I do work on it," Hutcheson assured the Pitch several weeks ago. But in a phone call last week, the Pitch learned that Hutcheson is no longer working on the case.
Detective James Agnew refused to confirm that the Corbin case has been stymied, but he did make a startling admission. After acknowledging that the St. Joseph love triangle was an important part of the case, Agnew said that in the three and a half years since Corbin's murder, the police department hasn't interviewed Fritz Ambrozi, the boyfriend to whom Corbin sent the humiliating letter and photographs.
"I'm kind of upset with the police department," Pat Wells says after she's told about the department's admission. "[Sgt. Dave] Bernard kept telling me they are never going to forget the case ... [but] they told me they didn't have the manpower."
She says she wonders whether her father's shadow might be keeping investigators from devoting more energy to the case. "The thought has crossed my mind. It's crossed my mind from day one."
Wells and her husband have put their house up for sale.
After Corbin's death, Pat asked her sister to live with her for two months. She wouldn't let her two other sons go downtown to talk to the police. She made the police come to them. Even three and a half years later, she still can't be alone in the house.
"That's the most hurt now, is for her to live day to day with Phil gone," Vince says. "I pretty much lost my mother, too."