BY DARK SLEUTH
Victor Atienza was killed on November 26, 1996 in Yonkers, NY.
His case remains unsolved. Victor is pictured with his wife, Lourdes.
(Source: USA Today)
On the night of November 26, 1996, Victor Atienza, a 51 year-old laser mechanic and his son, Louie Atienza, were performing a family ritual.
The family's home on Glenwood Avenue in Yonkers, New York, had a very narrow driveway. The men moved their cars out of the driveway nightly so that Lourdes Atienza (Victor's wife and Louie's mother) could park her car closest to the house. She worked as a nurse on a late shift. Victor and Louie then parked their cars behind hers, making it easier for the men to leave for work in the mornings.
On that November night in 1996, their routine was violently interrupted and a son watched his father be killed.
Victor Atienza was backing his maroon 1986 Jaguar XJ16 out of the driveway first, making his car the one closest to the road. According to Louie Atienza in a Westchester Magazine article from August 2015, this was uncharacteristic. It seems that Louie's car was the one usually closest to the road. This may be an important detail in this case.
Louie watched from his rearview mirror as a man approached his father's car. In an interview featured on USA Today on June 26, 2013, Louie discussed the possibility that the unidentified man may have "bumped into the car."
The assailant was described as "wearing dark clothing and a hood." At first it looked to Louie like the unidentified man was holding a cane, but it was actually a gun.
The assailant said something to Victor, hit the driver's-side window with the gun and shot Victor.
Louie sprung into action and tried to chase the unidentified man but lost him. He returned to try to help his father who did not survive the attack.
Even in 1996 police knew it would be a difficult case to solve. There was little evidence and not many witnesses. In a USA Today article, Detective Tilson of Yonkers Police said:
"A lot of times, days after the homicide people are talking about it... The streets were quiet. There were no leads to go on after the homicide. With this case, we got nothing."
The case is currently investigated by Detective John Geiss of the Yonkers Police Dept. Cold Case Unit. According to Detective Geiss, there may be a possible link between Victor Atienza's murder and a series of cab robberies in the area. The assailant in those robberies was described as "a man wielding a sawed-off shotgun."
According to a Westchester Magazine article, that night a cab company dispatcher received a call for a cab pickup. The dispatcher felt the call was suspicious and didn't send the cab. The location for the pickup was said to be on the same block as the Atienza home.
Detective Geiss describes a possible scenario:
“I guess the guy who did this was going to rob a cab. The cab didn’t show up; he sees a guy with a Jaguar. It’s a rainy night, it’s dark, he figures, ‘What the heck; let me get something from him.’ Something went wrong; either Victor didn’t cooperate, or he didn’t move fast enough.”
This short video is part of the June 26, 2013 USA Today article on the case. It features interviews with Detective Geiss and Louie Atienza, as well as images of the location and car:
Victor Atienza is described by police as a good man who was "at the wrong place at the wrong time."
Authorities believe that someone knows more about this case. They also believe that others may have been robbed by the same assailant and may be able to provide valuable information.
If you have any information on this case, please contact:
Yonkers Cold Case Unit: (914) 377-7731
Sources of Information:
USA Today article, "Son still haunted by father's 1996 unsolved slaying," by Will David, June 26, 2013:
Westchester Magazine article, "Westchester's Cold Cases" by Erik Ofgang, August 2015:
Manila Standard article, "Fil-Am engineer slain in N.Y." December 8, 1996: