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Las Vegas Unsolved: ‘He was everything to us,’ Grandfather killed on Mother’s Day
By David Charns,
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Two people are believed to be involved in the unsolved murder of a Las Vegas grandfather killed on Mother’s Day, the 8 News Now Investigators have learned.
Officers found 59-year-old James Wagner, a Marine veteran, deceased in his apartment near Maryland Parkway and Charleston Boulevard on May 8, 2022.
“It destroyed my life,” Wagner’s friend, Crystal Anderson, said. “It took everything away from me. It took my hopes, my dreams, everything. He was everything to us.”
Anderson and Wagner share two children and several grandchildren, she said.
“Nobody helps me, and nobody cares that this man is dead,” Anderson said. “He was a real-life angel. I’ve never met anybody like him before.”
Anderson said she met Wagner 20 years ago. He owned a business not far from his apartment. She remembers him saying an ominous statement before his death.
“He said, ‘They’re going to kill me.’ And I said, ‘Who?’ and he never said nothing,” Anderson said. “He hid everything from me if anything was bad if he got into it with somebody because he did not want me to know because he knew the first thing I would do is call the police.”
Las Vegas Metro police need your help finding Wagner’s killer.
“What makes this case so difficult to solve?” 8 News Now Investigator David Charns asked LVMPD homicide Det. Lawrence Gilbert.
“We do not have any witnesses that are willing to tell us what happened,” Gilbert said.
Witnesses saw two people running from the area of Wagner’s apartment after hearing a gunshot – the trail ends there, Gilbert said. They are described as a Black man and a light-skinned woman with red hair.
“Short of that, we have nothing,” he said.
Whoever shot and killed Wagner was able to get inside his apartment building and to Wagner’s apartment door, but they did not go inside after the murder, Gilbert said.
“He had things in his house of value,” he said. “Entry was never made into the house. If you’re going to rob somebody and shoot them per se, you would take something, but nothing was actually taken from the residence. I found that kind of peculiar.”
“So, you think people have talked about this and they’re just not coming forward?” Charns asked.
“Yes I do,” Gilbert said.
Without much to go on, detectives hope the simple fact this unsolved homicide happened on Mother’s Day will evoke some hidden memory.
“Is it likely that the person who killed James Wagner is still in that area?” Charns asked.
“Yes, yes, it is very likely,” Gilbert said. “The fact that he was taken on Mother’s Day itself, that should trigger something.”
Anderson is left on her own caring for the children and grandchildren she and Wagner share plus other family members, she said. She is working a minimum-wage job and trying to get by while hoping to help find the person who killed her best friend and caretaker.
“I have nobody to help me with my kids. Nobody to get them to school. Nobody to help buy us food. Nobody to help us with anything,” she said. “I have been struggling and suffering, I have never suffered in my whole life like I have. I lost everything. I lost everything when they took James.”
Tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 702-385-5555 or at crimestoppersofnv.com/report-a-crime . Information can also be sent via text by sending “CRIMENV” and then your message to “CRIMES” (274637). Crime Stoppers offers a reward for information that leads to an arrest.
Anderson started a GoFundMe to help with expenses.
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