Arrest made in 2009 cold case murder

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Submitted: Tue, 09/16/2014 - 3:07am
Updated: Tue, 09/16/2014 - 1:37pm By:

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s been more than five years, but detectives say they finally have a man in custody for the murder of a 20-year-old man.

Detectives say a man in Texas is behind bars, and indicted for the murder of Alton Corey Vann, who was shot and left for dead on the side of the road in 2009.

“For the past five years, your detectives never stopped working. They worked hard long hours. They worked with the DA’s office and then last week we were able to actually arrest Mr. Gonzales,” New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said at a news conference Monday.

McMahon says Larry Gonzales, 52, murdered his former roommate.

Deputies found Vann lying on the side of river road, shot in the head, in January 2009.

Soon after, friends and family met to mourn his loss.

“He was a lovable kid; he was always doing favors for everybody,” family friend Jesse Anaya said in 2009. “He was there for you when you needed him.”

Vann’s mother Julie Covey started a memorial fund in her son’s name five years ago with hopes of catching his killer.

“There are so many unanswered questions,” Covey said at the time. “We just want to know why. We just want to know who.”

Now she might finally see some answers.

A grand jury indicted Gonzales on first degree murder.

New Hanover District Attorney Ben David says he hopes this sends a strong message to criminals.

“There is no statute of limitations for any felony in North Carolina, particularly for murder, and there is nowhere you can run or hide to escape justice for a crime such as this,” David said.

Gonzales was arrested in Texas where he awaits extradition.

Police had questioned Gonzales before, and searched his home. According to a search warrant Gonzales was the beneficiary of a $20,000 life insurance policy Vann purchased weeks before his murder.

When we asked the sheriff about a motive, he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case.


  • portcity says:

    Only five years later and this is already considered a cold case file. And all evidence originally pointed to this man anyway. Who is responsible for placing murders in cold case files? Hopefully someone just misprinted the title…and its not because someone sweep a case under the rug..

  • Heimie Schmelter says:

    How long have you been a homicide detective or an investigator for the DA’s office? You wouldn’t like my answer.

    “A cold case is a crime or an accident that has not yet been fully solved and is not the subject of a recent criminal investigation, but for which new information could emerge from new witness testimony, re-examined archives, retained material evidence, as well as fresh activities of the suspect. New technical methods developed after the case can be used on the surviving evidence to re-analyze the causes, often with conclusive results.” Wikipedia

    That little bell startin’ ta ding-a-ling in that brain case of yours yet?

  • Ethel Simmons says:

    KUDOS to NHSD and to Ben David I hope you can at least put this creep away for the rest of his sorry life, that young man had his whole life ahead of him and it was cut short by some heartless thug that didn’t give the taking of a life a second thought, my heart breaks for Corey’s family and friends that have to go on without him…I pray for justice for Corey and his family and am so glad that one more animal has been taken off the streets and locked up where he belongs…may your soul now RIP Corey Vann <3

  • Joe Don says:

    I’m glad to see the NHCSO get their suspect. Gonzales was always prime suspect #1…but the only way to get a conviction is to prove it in court, and they need evidence. You can’t convict on a hunch, no matter how hard it is for the family. Great job.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Kudos to the New Hanover County Sheriff Department.

  • Walter Bowden says:

    I’ll second that!

  • Kit Kat says:


  • guest8675309 says:

    keep talking to people like they are dumb there bud. If you get your info off of Wikipedia, where anyone can write or change the article, then you need to rethink your source of information.

  • portcity says:

    5 years to me would be a recent homicide. Considering there has been around 30-40 murders in Wilmington in that time. It is recent enough not to stop investigating and they had evidence on this man right from the beginning. Heimie I hope you don’t speak to people the way you post on this site. (maybe there is a lil’ hope in my brain that you do speak to people like that because someone eventually will put an end to your rudeness) Somebody gave up on this case too soon if that is the correct definition of Cold-case because this is a recent murder that is still fresh in the minds of many in Wilmington.

  • Dortha says:

    I worked with Gonzalez at Brunswick Cove also. On certain occasions Cory would stop by to get a ride with his friend, Gonzalez. He was such a likable kid. He would always assist where he was needed. I am

  • Dortha says:

    I worked with Gonzalez at Brunswick Cove also. On certain occasions Cory would stop by to get a ride with his friend, Gonzalez. He was such a likable kid. He would always assist where he was needed. I am

  • Jessica webb says:

    Man i knew something wasn’t right with this man…i worked with him at brunswick cove and he always made me feel some type of way..Corey was one of my best friends and we grew a bond…his life should not have been taking…he was very Corey justice is now being served

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