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Fatal hit and run remains unsolved case in Turlock
Mother of slain man ups reward for arrest and conviction
kelly story pic
Anyone with information about the death of Kelly Story is asked to contact Detective Brandon Bertram at 209-664-7323. - photo by Photo Contributed

In the days, weeks and months following her son’s death Carol Spurgin waited for a call to tell her that her son’s murder had been solved.

It’s been seven years and Spurgin is still waiting for that phone call.

Spurgin’s son, Kelly Story, remains an unsolved homicide in the Turlock Police Department. At the onset of the case it seemed a mystery that was destined to be solved. There were witnesses and a description. But the three-ring binders that detail the investigation is missing one key element — who did it.

It was Jan. 31, 2009. It was a Saturday night and across America millions of people were readying their plans to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, set for the following day. Story was at his home on Julian Street with a few friends and the group was getting an early start on the festivities. It was the repeated sound of screeching tires that interrupted the party and led Story and his friends to venture outside and confront the reckless driver.

“There were words between them and the occupants of the car and it did get heated,” said Turlock Police Detective Brandon Bertram, the lead investigator assigned to the case.

The driver of the car, which has been described as a midsized, dark-colored four-door sedan, pulled into the intersection and made a U-turn. The driver headed back in the direction of where Story and his friends stood.

The circumstances of what happened next remain a central question in the mystery, but the result has been all too clear.

“Did the driver panic or was this a deliberate act? We don’t know,” Bertram said.

The car hit Story’s friend first, knocking him down. Story was hit next. The car made contact with the lower part of Story’s legs. He was knocked backwards and the force of the impact sent him back several feet. He fell hard with the back of his head striking the pavement.

The driver of the car sped away as people ran to Story’s side.

Story was taken by air ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto with severe brain trauma. The following day he had a massive coronary and died.

Those witnesses that initially seemed so promising have proven to be less than forthcoming and the description they provided never has extended to the person behind the wheel.

“It really hurts,” Spurgin said. “You know there are people out there who know what happened that night. You would think someone would step forward and say something, but they haven’t. He had a lot of friends, but where are they now for him?”

The resistance of Story’s friends to cooperate with the investigation has left Spurgin with a nagging notion that her son’s death was deliberate. Months prior, Story’s grandparents had been robbed at gunpoint and he had taken it upon himself to ferret out the culprits.

“He might of tipped someone off by his questions and they came after him,” Spurgin said.

Spurgin has tried to get the answers she seeks through emotional pleas, some cajoling and a dose of guilt. Now she’s pinning her hopes of a resolution on someone interested in financial gain.

Spurgin is upping the reward to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of her son’s killer.

“Maybe this will be the incentive someone needs to come forward with the information,” Spurgin said.

“Kelly was a very loving son,” she said. “No one can know how much it hurts to lose a child until it happens to you. There will never be closure but I only hope that someone will step forward with information that will give me and the rest of his family some peace of mind.  It would be a blessing to have my son's murder solved.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Detective Brandon Bertram at 209-664-7323. Callers can also leave an anonymous tip at Crime Stoppers and potentially be eligible for a cash reward. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 209-521-4636 or 1-866-602-7463, or at