OAKDALE — Joey Ross was a sports-loving, big-hearted, open-minded Oakdale man who had dreams of moving to Alaska.
Those dreams were cut short in 2006 when he was stabbed to death.
“He was fun to be around, very shy at first but he did very well with people his own age,” Nancy Ross, Joey’s mother, told FOX40.
Joey’s mother and his father, Bob, have turned their grief into purpose.
“We want justice and we’ve focused on that just night and day,” Bob said.
Cold case detective Mike Freudenthal, from the Oakdale Police Department, says he has very few leads.
“Even information they think, ‘Well it’s not relevant. It’s not important.’ It’s very important,” he told FOX40. “The smallest tip helps.”
Freudenthal says Joey was closing up shop at The Dugout, a bar he co-owned and was in the process of selling, just after midnight on July 5, 2006. He was walking on F Street to his home about a mile away.
He called his mother three times.
“He would hang up really fast. I assumed, after knowing what happened, someone had come,” she said.
Nancy said the calls grew more frantic. Joey had mentioned something about a broken window.
“That’s been a puzzle to this day,” Nancy said. “We’ve tried to find if it was a car window, if it was a shop window.”
The last call prompted Nancy to look for Joey. She remembers seeing a light at his apartment and assumed he was home.
Investigators found his body nearby.
His family says they heard that Joey got into some kind of confrontation with three men in an older pickup outside his bar. They hope that group speaks up.
Now, Joey is still honored by loved ones. His former bar is now known by a different name, and his parents’ fight for justice moves forward.