“WE NEED HELP!”, those are the words of a murder victim’s family. “Someone, somewhere, knows something about this crime, and we need him or her to come forward and give us some peace,” said Randy DeVecchi while speaking about the 15 year unsolved killing of his brother Rick DeVecchi. It was 15 years ago, Dec. 17, when the horrible murder of San Lorenzo resident, Rick DeVecchi occurred.
While the murder remains unsolved, his life continues to make an impact for others throughout the entire Bay Area. Not only did Rick save lives by being an organ and tissue donor, but his legacy continues to help others today. Donations in his name have been spread throughout the Bay Area. Numerous contributions include, Make a Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society, and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Also, donations tiles at The Oakland Children’s Zoo, San Francisco Giants AT&T Park, Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, Del Rey Elementary School in Orinda, San Lorenzo Community Center, and sponsorships to Citizens against Homicide in San Rafael.
But the largest contribution comes from the event that now bears his name —The Annual Arroyo High School Car Show in Memory of Rick DeVecchi. This event, which is held each May at Rick’s alma mater, has grown since its inception to raise money for high school sports, and over the years, more than $100,000 has been given to save the athletic programs. Hundreds of classic and custom cars from throughout the Bay Area are displayed for the community to enjoy. This fun filled family event has drawn thousands of spectators to enjoy beautiful cars, live music, barbeque, snacks, vendors, contests, and more.
While his generosity is spread throughout the Bay Area, the family continues to search for the murderer. Flyers are passed out every day, billboards have been placed throughout the Bay Area, video enhancement of the suspect vehicle, websites have been utilized, “America’s Most Wanted” profiled the case three times, a local law enforcement show, “Fugitive Watch” aired a segment and included it in their print edition, witnesses have been hypnotized, local mailing to all law enforcement agencies, as well as all local newspapers, radio, and television coverage, yet the vehicular hit and run still remains unsolved.
It was Dec. 17, 1998 just after 7 a.m., when Rick was walking along Second Street in Berkeley, in front of the family trucking company, when a black man in a white or tan colored Cadillac intentionally and maliciously ran him over. Three days later he was pronounced dead. The car was driving northbound on Second Street when the driver deliberately accelerated his car and swerved to hit the victim. The driver sped off and the car and driver have not been seen since.
“That’s what is so baffling about this case. The car has disappeared from the face of the Earth,” said younger brother Randy DeVecchi. “Someone knows about that car and we need that someone to give us the tip we need to close this case.” He also added, “This couldn’t be the smartest crook in the world, and not spoke about it. He told somebody and we need that somebody to come forward and give our family some answers, and some peace.”
The car is described as a late model 1970’s or 1980’s light colored Cadillac with a dark landau top. A partial license plate similar to “CUS---“ or “-CUS---“ (blue characters on a white plate).
Frank Kiernan, who was a witness to the crime, recently was talking about what happened. “I can’t even imagine what that family has gone through for all these years. To get up every day, go to work, and run a family business at the very location where a family member was murdered has to be very difficult, but to have the crime still unsolved, it has to be agonizing for them.”
Not only did this tragic event take place in front of the family trucking company, but it was witnessed by Rick’s dad. As the driver struck Rick DeVecchi, the dad, Dick DeVecchi saw the entire event unfold. The elder DeVecchi thought of giving chase, but his son was gasping for his last breaths of life.
Rick DeVecchi was 37 years old and is survived by his wife of 15 years and two children.
Currently, the reward is $50,000.00. A composite sketch of the suspect has been released by the Berkeley Police Department. The suspect is described as a black male, 5’11”, 185 lbs., black hair. Berkeley Police are asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information regarding this case should contact Berkeley Police Department Homicide at (510) 981-5741. (can remain anonymous). Refer to case #98-65962. More information can be found here.