The Unsolved Murder of Joey Ross
Case File Overview
Shortly after 1:30AM on July 5th, 2006, 28-year-old Joey Ross closed up The Dugout, a bar he co-owned with his father, and headed home. Although the bar had not been open to the public on the evening of July 4th, Joey had invited some friends by for a few drinks.
During his mile-long walk home along F Street in Oakdale, California, something went terribly wrong. Joey called his mother Nancy three times, and by the last call he was frantic and begged his mother to come and pick him up.
Consumed with worry, Nancy set out to find her son. She drove around but had no luck, and Joey was not answering his cellphone. At first she was relieved when she noticed a light on in his apartment and thought he had made it home.
The police, however, found his body around 5:30AM in the 500 block of F Street, only a few blocks away from the safety of his home. His smashed cell phone was tossed on the ground next to him.
An autopsy later revealed Joey had “been stabbed multiple times including once in the aorta.”
Despite the ongoing investigation by local authorities and the tireless efforts of the Ross family, Joey’s case remains unsolved.
Case File Theories
There is little information released about this baffling murder, so it is difficult to discuss possible theories. One thing is clear. I think it is highly unlikely Joey knew his killer(s). If he had, he would have mentioned their name(s) during one of the multiple calls to his mother.
Rumour has it Joey got into a confrontation with three men in an older pickup truck outside of his bar shortly before his murder. In 2017, cold case detectives turned to the public for “information about a 1970 to 1980 late model pick-up truck, two tone color, occupied by 2-3 males. The occupants at the time (July 2006) would have been approximately 20-30 years old.” These unidentified males appear to be the only real lead in the case.
Two pieces of evidence that have been released just add to the mystery.
First, there is the window. Joey mentioned a broken window to his mother during their phone calls before his death. However, it has never been determined if he was talking about a vehicle, shop, or residence window. What window was Joey talking about? Did the broken window play a role in his death? We will probably never know.
Second, there is the cellphone. Joey’s family has said they believe his cellphone was broken because he was throwing it at a nearby apartment that belonged to friend, trying to rouse some help. I wonder if instead Joey’s killer(s) confronted him in the street and broke the cellphone to stop him from calling for assistance. Strangely, the back of Joey’s cellphone was missing from the murder scene. Days later, Joey’s mother found it on the floor of the bar’s office. Why did Joey take his cellphone apart? And why not put it back together before heading out? This seems very odd to me, so if you have any insight into this please share it.
Who do you think killed Joey?
According to Joey’s family and friends, Joey was a big-hearted young man who loved sports and dreamed of moving to Alaska.
The Ross family questions the resources put into trying to solve their son’s murder case as compared to other cases in the area. Nancy and Bob Ross have never given up searching for justice for their son. Nancy explained to the media, “Nothing can ever compare to this. Nothing ever prepares you for this. When you lose a child, you mourn the past, the present and the future that you have been denied.”
According to the police, they are still actively pursuing Joey’s killer. However, cold case detective Mike Freudenthal, from the Oakdale Police Department, explains they do not have many leads to work with. The police are pleading with the public for assistance, stating, “The smallest tip helps.”
If you have any information about Joey’s murder please contact the Oakdale Police Department at (209) 847-2231. The Governor of the state of California is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Joey’s killer.
“A Year Without Answers” – The Modesto Bee article
“Joey Ross: 10 Years No Justice for the Family” – Marty Carlson article
Joey Ross – Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers report