A Year after Retired CHP Sergeant’s Death His Family Still Searches for Justice

STOCKTON -- It will be one year on Saturday since a retired CHP sergeant died protecting his elderly friend from a robbery suspect.

The first year after someone dies is usually the hardest, but not knowing who killed his father makes this last year especially difficult for Joe Elsey Jr.

It's hard for Elsey Jr. to talk about his dad, a man who helped make his house a home.

The elder Elsey was killed one year ago while protecting a friend during a robbery at Rio Las Palmas Senior Living Center in Stockton and investigators still don't have someone behind bars.

The Stockton Police Department says on Feb. 17, 2017 a man posed as a maintenance worker, got into an elderly woman's room and tried to rob her. Eighty-seven-year-old Elsey Sr. was in the room.

"My dad immediately went to her aid, fought with him. He threw my dad off," Elsey Jr. said. "My dad went back after him another time. Second time he threw my dad off. Third time he got an ice pick and was getting ready to stab her."

It was that third time Elsey Jr. says the man threw his dad. He hit his head on a table, went into cardiac arrest and died.

The man ran away and hasn't been found. What he's accused of doing has tortured the Elsey family for the last 12 months.

"It's been hard on my sister, my kids, her kids. Tears a family apart," Elsey Jr. said.

How Elsey Sr. died still hasn't sunk in, but what he did to help his friend isn't surprising.

The police sketch of the suspected attacker. Described as being a male in his 30s, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and 145 to 150 pounds. (Credit: Stockton Police Department)

Elsey Sr. spent 50 years in civil service. He's a Korean War veteran, a former Stockton firefighter and spent years in law enforcement with the CHP and San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office. A man who spent his life protecting others died doing exactly that -- and now his family wants justice.

"I'm hoping to get this resolved, at least before I die," the younger Elsey said.

If you recognize the man in the police sketch or video, or have any information on what happened that night, get in touch with the Stockton Police Department at 209-937-8377, Detective Dewing at 209-937-8323, or Crime Stoppers at 209-946-0600.