MEDFORD, Ore. -- Julio Bonilla-Cardenas’ body was found on March 3, 1992, near the railroad - on what was then Medford Corporation property. His transient lifestyle proved to be difficult in nailing down any sort of leads, but there was one potential direction that might’ve been able to get this case back on track.
“Kinda how it seemed... that this was sort of a random killing," Capt. Eric Fox of the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said. "We didn’t really know anybody that knew, a motive for why it happened.”
With no motive among acquaintances, friends, or family, the search for Bonilla-Cardenas’ killer expanded.
The case eventually led investigators toward a possibly more sinister suspect they believed could have been responsible: a serial killer – nicknamed “The Boxcar Killer."
“We don’t know for sure, but he was certainly around in the area, had been going through Oregon… been in Oregon… and used similar methods to kill other people," Fox said.
The Boxcar Killer was known to travel the country by railroad -- killing fellow riders and leaving behind a trail of bodies across the United States.
Coincidences between this man and Bonilla Cardenas’ murder led to investigators interviewing the suspected killer. But there was no confession to this crime.
“It could’ve been a transient fight, and the suspect just fled and we never had information about who it was," said Fox.
The boxcar killer eventually confessed to different murders and is now serving a double-life sentence.
But whether Bonilla-Cardenas’ killer is still out there somewhere, or maybe already in prison, there’s still hope that this case can fully come into focus.
“At this point, there’s no way to bring that person to justice... but we hope that someday we will.”