NYC woman on mission to solve dad's murder with or without help of NYPD

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Daughter on mission to solve dad's murder mystery
Jim Dolan has more on the daughter on a mission to find her father's killer, whether police will help her or not.

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- A 76-year-old man was found dying in the street in Queens - and his own daughter has been doing the footwork to solve her dad's murder.

At dusk on Tuesday, Jennifer Espinal scoured the streets of Jamaica, Queens, looking for the man who she believes killed her father.

Jorge Cornejo worked two jobs washing cars to support his family. And even as she grew up, he still called her every morning at 8 a.m.

"I'll never see him again, not even hear 'I love you Jen,' nothing, that one person destroyed my life forever," Espinal said.

Cornejo was discovered on Jamaica Avenue late on the night of June 20 with a head injury that he later died from. Espinal found out about it the next day, on Father's Day.

EMTs thought he fell, but Espinal's brother found a whole different story on the street.

"He said, 'Jen, everyone is saying the same story that dad was murdered,'" Espinal said.

But Espinal said police at the 103 Precinct refused to investigate what happened to her dad.

RELATED: 7 On Your Side Investigates reasons behind uptick in NYC gun violence

When the lieutenant there refused to write up a police report, he told Espinal that she should go out into the neighborhood, and find her own evidence of a crime -- and so she did.

She canvassed the neighborhood and found video and surveillance photographs of her father's murder. It was traumatizing.

"The last thing I imagine every day is how my dad was laying down, how horrible, how savage my dad was murdered," she said.

With the evidence she found, police finally started looking into the case.

On Tuesday, they released photos of the man witnesses say murdered Jorge Cornejo and they asked for the public's help finding him.

Espinal says good NYPD detectives are on the case now, but she will remember the lieutenant who refused to investigate.

"He didn't even care, my dad to him was nothing, but to us, my dad was everything, he mattered," she said.

Espinal is still out there searching and hoping to find the man in the pictures. The NYPD issued a statement saying they are looking for him too.

RELATED | Shootings spike: Yet another gun violence death in NYC as surge persists

NJ Burkett reports the recent spike in gun violence in New York City shows no sign of ending, with yet another fatal shooting Tuesday morning and another incident in which a 15-year-old was shot in the back.


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