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Authorities seek to solve cold case murder of Tacoma family

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It has been almost two decades since Linda Tran and her children were brutally murdered inside their Tacoma home. The details surrounding their deaths are horrific, and their killer is still free. Now, Tacoma police hope someone is ready to break their silence.

“It was Dec. 18, 1998, shortly before 8:30 p.m.,” explains Det. Lindsey Wade who talked with Washington’s Most Wanted Cold Case Correspondent Parella Lewis.

On that morning, 26-year-old Linda Tran was home with her 9-year-old daughter Patricia and almost 2-year-old son, Austin, when a neighbor called 911. “They reported that they saw a man with a bat, standing in the doorway of her home, and saw the man coax the children inside the house, and shut the door,” says Tacoma Police Det. Lindsey Wade. And then they witnessed the unthinkable. “They also reported hearing banging noises, glass breaking, crying inside the residence, and then while this witness was on the phone with 911, they saw the house explode,” Det. Wade said. Linda and her two children were killed. She was also seven months pregnant.

It has been almost two decades since a mother and her three children were brutally murdered inside their Tacoma home. Linda’s father, Kiet Tran, remembers the phone call. “They woke me up and said, ‘Your daughter may have been murdered.’ I was shocked and asked, why?” That is just one question that remains unanswered almost 16 years later. Det. Wade explains, “We do not have any real strong indication as to why this happened. I think based on the brutality of the crime, it seemed like a personal crime, and somebody who would have been in a personal relationship with Linda.”

Witnesses say a man was seen running from Linda’s home after the explosion and that leaves Retired Tacoma Det. Robert Yerbury, the original lead on the case, suspecting the killer could have been covered with clues. “It’s certainly a possibility that he received some kind of burning injuries as a result of the explosion because it was so violent,” said Yerbury. The house is no longer on the corner of 40th and Q Street in Tacoma, and because of advances in science since the murders police are now processing evidence for DNA. While they are waiting for results, they join Linda’s family in asking for anyone who knows what happened that night to break their silence.

“It’s a horrific crime,” added Wade. “To have a pregnant woman who was seven months pregnant with a little boy that she had already named Joshua, and then her two young children who were absolutely innocent, it’s shocking, horrifying to think that something like this could happen, that it did happen and that it’s gone unsolved and that no one has come forward after all these years.” Linda’s father explains, “After my daughter was murdered and my grandchildren were murdered, my mind can’t do much work and that slows me down because I keep thinking everyday about them, so it’s kind of tough for me to live. I can’t do any work anymore, so I need somebody out there who knows something to call Tacoma police.”

Witnesses say the man they saw that night was black or dark-skinned with a muscular build and about 30 years of age at the time. He was seen getting into a dark-colored sedan-style car with a driver waiting for him. If you know anything about the murders of the Tran family, call Tacoma Police at (253) 798-4721 call an anonymous tip in to Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-TIPS You must call the Crime Stoppers hotline with your tip to be eligible to receive a cash reward for information leading to an arrest.

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