New information in a decades-old homicide case could finally get a family answers.
Raul Suarez — a cabdriver and local television host known as Cooks Books — was found fatally stabbed in the predawn hours of March 31, 1985, lying in the eastbound lane of the White Horse Pike in front of the Crest Motel.
Earlier, he had been seen driving east with two black males.
Investigators believe that Suarez was pushed from his cab during an armed robbery. His taxi was found four hours later in the 800 block of North Michigan Avenue in Atlantic City’s Westside.
More than 160 people were interviewed, but a killer was never found.
“Cooks Books was a very revered member of our community and that his murder has gone unsolved for so many years is a sad tragedy for his family and the greater Atlantic City region alike,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said Friday, two days before the 34th anniversary of Suarez’s death. “The family and community should know that there are dedicated investigators committed to learning the truth about his homicide.”
Part of that truth might be found in a blood sample previously untested, Suarez’s nephew, Mario Suarez, told BreakingAC.
“They found some blood that wasn’t my uncle’s from scene and sent it out to be tested a month or so ago,” he said he was told after being contacted by Tyner. “They’re waiting for the results.”
Tyner declined had no comment on that information.
Waiting has been what Suarez and his sister Blanch Morro have been forced to do for more than three decades.
Mario Suarez planned to become a lawyer.
But things changed when his uncle was killed just before he turned 18.
Now a retired Atlantic City police officer, he and his partner Expert Investigation Group are hoping to meeting with Tyner next week to find out what the tests have shown.
Cooks Books’ cab had his signature quote on the back: ‘Every day is a miracle’
Uncle Raul had been like a third parent for his youngest brother’s children.
Their mother was paralyzed after being struck by a drunken driver, so their uncle moved into their Georgia Avenue home to help out.
“We spent a lot of time with our uncle,” Morro said, which often meant trips to the famous 500 Club. “He would take us along or we’d go on cab rides with him and appointments with him.”
Mario Suarez remembered the Christmases he and his sisters were elves to his uncle’s Santa Claus at Zaberer’s Restaurant.
“It’s dredging up old, painful memories,” said Morro, who was 20 when she lost her uncle. “But I would be relieved to get some closure.”
Their father wasn’t able to get that. He died in 2012, still determined to find out who killed his big brother.
“My brother and I are all that’s left at this point,” she said. “We’ve kind of been bearing the pain. We were the closest to him.”
JMario Suarez, who at 51 is now the same age as his uncle was when he died, still learns more about the man as the years go on.
“We still get these stories from people,” he said. “People write us all the time saying how much they miss him and how much he changed their lives.”
And with the addition of social media, “it’s no longer just letters in the mail but in-box messages and Instagram.”
The two say they are thankful that Tyner has brought focus back on the case.
“The family truly appreciates his efforts,” Suarez said. “Damon is a great man.”
“We’ve been trying to follow up and get the support for a lot of time,” Morro said. “Seeing that the Prosecutor’s Office is going back in to it… Hopefully, it’s going to be a comfort.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office website here. Information may also be called in to Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234.