The sister of a man murdered in the District more than 21 years ago is making an unusual plea.
Towanna Matthews wants to know the identity of a mystery woman who was with her brother the night he was killed.
A woman now considered a crucial witness in an upcoming trial--but no one knows who she is.
Investigators in the District are in a race with the clock to identify a woman who witnessed a terrible murder.
A trial is set for the suspect in the case but detectives have no idea who she is other than being absolutely certain the woman was there when Chet Matthews was gunned down on the banks of the Potomac in 1992.
Matthews was the youngest of seven children who was born and raised in Takoma Park; part of a tight knit family who loved to be together.
"My dad, he liked to have his family around, so did my mom so we, any holiday, any chance to get together to have something with family we did that", said Towanna Matthews in an interview Friday.
And Memorial Day 1992 was no different. Chet was there and the family celebrated the holiday in their big back yard.
But later that night Chet left to meet a friend.
"My brother, he was a rolling stone more or less, he left out, he did have fun, he enjoyed his life", said Matthews.
The postal worker and part time barber headed for Haines Point Park where his life would end at the hands of what investigators say was a 17 year old from Arlington who had armed himself with a deadly weapon.
The way police tell it, the murder happened under the 14th Street Bridge. It was midnight, Memorial Day 1992 and Chet Matthews and a female friend were sitting in car along the Potomac River when according to a police affidavit, three young men pulled up in a car and announced a robbery.
The three told the woman to get out of the car and lie on the ground while tell Matthews to get on his knees in front of the car. That’s when one of the young men pulled out a sawed off shotgun and killed Matthews.
At the sound of gunfire everyone scattered, including the young woman who is still unidentified today.
"Maybe she's at peace and maybe she's not”, said Matthews, “how can you be at peace when you know you have seen something and witnessed something, such a terrible thing and not say something, how do you live with that? How does a person live with that".
Detective Oliver Garvey closed the case more than a year and a half ago.
Two men have pleaded guilty but a third is about to go on trial and that's where the mystery woman has a crucial role.
"The case is coming up next month and having the opportunity to talk to her as well as to follow up on any information she can provide, this would really be the time we would need her to come forward", Said Robert Alder, Commander of the D.C. Police Homicide Division.
As she sat in her Takoma Park living room Friday afternoon Towanna Matthews said "You cannot be afraid, God will take care of you and I plead with the young lady if she is out there if she is still alive, if she knows something, please come forth to our family and let us know something".
Investigators know very little about the woman other than she is African American and their best guess is she's local and may now be in her mid to late forties.
If she's watching or someone knows who she is, police would like her to call 202-727-9099 or contact Detective Oliver Garvey directly.
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