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Tucson cold case solved nearly five years later

The DNA and blood matched up, linking Montano to the murder. He committed suicide back in 2014.

May 5, 2018

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Employees at the Tanque Verde AM/PM could breath a sigh of relief Saturday afternoon, knowing the 2013 cold case of their friend and colleague, Erick Bridges, has been solved.

Employees like Eloise Trevino, who spent her Saturday afternoon at work.

The day's foot traffic in and out of the store was not at all unusual. It was an average day, about a month since she's been back at the Tanque Verde AM/PM. She left this job for a few years, and only recently returned.

She worked here back in May of 2013, a time she will never forget.

"When we all worked here when Erick worked here, it was a tight, close family. It hit us all pretty hard. I still get chills talking about it," Trevino said.

The murder of her coworker, Erick Bridges, weighed heavily on her and much of that AM/PM family.

Until days ago, a sign in his memory was hung up outside the convenience store.

Trevino said, "We literally just took it down last week and our boss really didn't want to take it down."

The night Bridges was killed is one this surrounding community will always remember.

"Erick was a great guy and he'll be missed," said Ted Bunas, a frequent AM/PM customer. He was there the night Bridges was killed.

He explained to Tucson News Now what the scene was like. "Two hours after it happened, police cars were all in the parking lot and the door was chain locked." He also remembers the long hunt for the suspect.

Surveillance photos show the man with a hood on, jumping over the counter, before stabbing Bridges to death.

Bunas said, "He was hard to find. He was basically invisible. You couldn't tell who he was."

Five years later, police identified the man as Matthew Montano. Tucson Police were able to resubmit DNA from a fingerprint left behind at the scene. When TPD received the results, it was compared to blood on other pieces of evidence from the crime.

The DNA and blood matched up, linking Montano to the murder. He committed suicide back in 2014.

For those closest to Bridges, like his former co-worker Trevino, knowing who did it serves as a breath of fresh air.

"Closure for them. It's closure for the people the people that work here that still feared that guy was out there," Trevino described.

She said knowing this case is closed makes the work day a little bit easier.

Tucson Police officially closed the case on May 5, 2018.

Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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