Police hunt for clues in Carytown/Museum District cold case

Posted at 12:35 AM, Jun 29, 2012
and last updated 2013-01-31 11:46:22-05

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Last year CBS 6 reported on a cold case of Michael Dobbs. Dobbs was killed on Super Bowl Sunday 2006. We are re-posting Catie Beck's story as the seventh anniversary of Dobbs' murder approaches. Anyone with information about this murder is asked to call Richmond Police at (804) 646-6741.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Richmond police are searching for clues in a Carytown/Museum District cold case murder investigation. The victim's mother hopes someone will come forward to close the case and bring closure to her family.

"I always recognized his run," said Mary Dobbs, the victim's mother.

Dobbs said she waited at the finish line countless times for her son, Michael. She went to track meets at Hermitage High School, cross country competitions in college, and even the Richmond Marathon. He was always running a long distance and Michael always finished the race. Only once in his young life was his stride suddenly and fatally cut short.

"It all comes to the surface again and a very bad wound opens up again," said Dobbs.

It was Feb. 5, 2006, a day before Super Bowl Sunday. Dobbs, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, was visiting a high school friend in the Fan. They were planning a party for the next day to watch the big game.

"It was around 2 in the morning and real cold out," said Richmond Police Det. Joe Fultz.

Fultz has worked the Dobbs case from the beginning. He said the night he was killed, Dobbs walked down Ellwood Avenue towards Carytown where his car was parked.

"He was leaving a friend's apartment and walk walking to his car and something horrific happened," said Dobbs.

Fultz said at least two men approached Dobbs with the intention of robbing him. There was a struggle and police said Dobbs likely did what he so often had -- he ran.

"Maybe he was trying to break away and make an escape and that's when he was shot," said Fultz.

By the time police were called to the corner of Ellwood and Auburn, Dobbs had died from his gunshot wound. Toxicology reports showed he wasn't under the influence of alcohol or of drugs. His wallet and his cell phone were stolen.

"The young man he fought for his life that night," said Fultz.

For the past six years detectives have searched for the men who took it. These years haven't yet brought closure to Dobb's family. They grieve as though the crime happened yesterday, fearing that another sudden tragedy could come at any moment.

"I don't think I could take another loss, I remember when we lost him lying on the couch in there thinking why am I still can I still breath," said Dobbs.

Now Fultz is again trying to breathe life into the case gone cold. The murder has never seen a charge or an arrest.

"There is someone out there that doesn't have any respect for human life," said Dobbs.

Police said likely the early morning hour of the crime and the cold temperatures that night prevented any eyewitnesses. They also suspect the suspects were not from the area so identification would be difficult even if they were seen. But even still they believe there's someone who knows more.

"We're not finished with this by any means, the crime of murder doesn’t go away, we stop at nothing," said Fultz.

Dobbs wants to trade her painful memory for someone else's memory of Feb. 5. It could bring closure to the case and to her family. Any parent waiting at the finish line could understand.

"It could have been their son.... it just happened to be ours," said Dobbs.