Douglas Cleaves was 25 years old when he was murdered. His body was found inside his home in Anchorage, Alaska, more than 35 years ago, and the person responsible for his death has yet to be brought to justice.
On the night of Oct. 19, 1985, Cleaves and his sister, along with two female friends, had dinner (king crab legs) at his home in the 8900 block of Forest Village Drive.
Afterward, they decided to watch television in the living room area.
As they were lying on the floor, they became startled when they heard two loud knocks at the door around 12:22 a.m.
When Cleaves’ sister opened the front door, there was a person between five-feet-six and five-foot-eight inches tall standing at the door, wearing a mask and a trench coat.
They were also armed with a rifle, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Cleaves’ sister tried to slam the door, but the perpetrator managed to enter the home and aim the gun at Cleaves before opening fire, but they missed.
That’s when Cleaves, who was a single father and a double amputee, got on his knees, raised his hands, and pleaded with the shooter.
“Hey, don’t shoot,” he reportedly said. “I don’t understand what’s going on; don’t shoot. We can work this out.”
The gunmen opened fire again, and this time, the bullet struck Cleaves in the head, causing one of his eyes to come out of its socket. Three more bullets were fired into Douglas before the shooter fled the scene.
The three women in the home immediately went to the back bedroom and called 911.
Officers with the Anchorage Police Department were dispatched to the home, where they found Cleaves dead.
Relatives stated that before Cleaves was murdered, he was just starting to get his life back together after a freak accident at his construction job in Eagle River.
It caused him to lose both of his legs, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported.
In July 1985, Cleaves and a co-worker were unloading steel girders from a truck when the crane lifting the girders struck an electrical transmission line.
The impact caused 115,00 volts of electricity to pass through his body.
He suffered severe burns, and both legs had to be amputated below the knee.
Cleaves had only been discharged from the hospital for several weeks before he was murdered in his home.
Witnesses told police that they were unsure if the shooter was a man or a woman, and they could not provide a description of the suspected shooter.
Throughout the years, investigators have worked diligently to find Cleaves’ killer, but ultimately, his case has yet to be solved.
Anyone with information regarding the unsolved murder of Douglas Cleaves is encouraged to contact the Anchorage Police Department at (907) 786-8900.
To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (907) 561-STOP.