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A year after fatal stabbing, family offers a reward to warm up a cold case

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The family of a man fatally stabbed inside his Koreatown apartment a year ago is offering a reward in an effort to crack the murder case.

Sam Michel, 25, was attacked sometime around 2:30 a.m. last April 10. Two hours earlier, Michel had drinks with friends at the R-Bar, then walked about five blocks to his apartment at the Sir Francis Drake complex on South Serrano Street.

Michel's family is now offering $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

Michel’s friend and neighbor Matthew Thompson was home on the morning of the murder. He says he heard a confrontation, but didn't know what had happened.

“It was quite a ruckus,” Thompson told KPCC last year. “I heard people yelling. I heard what I now realize was Sam screaming.”

Lots of people heard the same thing and called 911. But so far, LAPD homicide detectives haven't been able to find someone with more substantial information in the case. 

According to police, a witness reported seeing a white or Hispanic man peddling away from the apartment area on a BMX-type bike. Detectives say that man is not a suspect, but is a "person of interest" who could have information.

LAPD detective Rolando Rodriguez has been waiting for a long time to talk to that man. Rodriguez says he believes that person lives near the apartment complex or in the Koreatown neighborhood—and he say the killer probably does, too.

“I bang my head almost everyday on it because I’m trying to figure out whether we’ve missed something,” he said.

Relatives and friends have planned a memorial at the Sir Francis Drake apartments Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to honor Michel and draw attention to the case.

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