By Mike Luery

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) –– The wife of a murdered sheriff’s deputy is coming forward – and speaking only to CBS 13 about the case that has haunted detectives for nearly five years.

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It’s been a very tough five years for Crystal Mitchell – August 12th would have been her 16th wedding anniversary with Jeff Mitchell – whose killer – or killers are still on the loose.

“As long as this murder is unsolved, I will fight for him,” Crystal Mitchell told CBS 13 in an exclusive interview.

Crystal Mitchell has been fighting for justice ever since her husband, Jeff Mitchell, a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy was gunned down on Meiss Road, south of Jackson Highway, on October 27, 2006.

“How can anybody go five years after doing something like that and still live with themselves?” Crystal Mitchell asked out loud.

The suspects are still at large, but after more than 4,000 tips on the case, there is a new development. Homicide detectives now believe they know who killed Jeff Mitchell – and why.

“Deputy Mitchell had stumbled across something that nobody wanted to be found,” Detective Tony Turnbull told CBS 13.

And that something was a suspicious white van with no rear license plate. And hidden inside were two dead bodies. Investigators strongly suspect that 43-year old Allan Shubert and 28-year old Nicole Welch were already dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. And someone had to dispose of their bodies – someone with a strong motive to cover up their deaths.

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And that’s when Deputy Mitchell entered the scene – on patrol at 3:30 a.m. on Meiss Road in the Sloughouse area of Sacramento County – where he approached the white van.

There was a violent struggle, then a gunshot. And within seconds, an officer was down, mortally wounded with his own weapon.

Crystal Mitchell had to tell six-year old Jake that his daddy was dead.

“He didn’t understand why the doctors couldn’t just put a band aid on him and fix him like his daddy had fixed his wounds, his scrapes,” Crystal Mitchell told CBS 13.

“I strongly believe there is more than one person involved,” said Tony Turnbull, the lead investigator on the case. Detectives have already interrogated several key persons of interest – multiple times.

“We have caught people in a web of lies,” Turnbull told CBS 13.

But linking the killers to the crime scene, with a lack of DNA evidence, has been the stumbling block to breaking the case – a murder that destroyed a marriage and left a young boy without a father.

But Crystal Mitchell, who still wears the exact replica of Jeff’s badge around her neck – has never lost hope that justice will prevail. Investigators are counting on key witnesses to come forward now – people who know the killers – people who know what happened to Deputy Jeff Mitchell on the night he was murdered.

“I will do whatever it takes because I loved him,” Crystal Mitchell told CBS 13.
“I love him and I miss him. And he deserves that. And I want this for us,” she added.

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If you have any information to advance the case, call Detective Tony Turnbull at (916) 874-3778.