LANCASTER – It’s been more than 11 years since Biiiance Hawkins died from suffocation, after having her hands and legs bound with duct tape and duct tape put over her nose and mouth. For Hawkins’ six brothers and sisters, the pain is still as fresh as if the murder happened yesterday.
“It’s devastating, every day when I wake up I think about it,” said sister Delphine Hawkins. “It’s been 11 whole years and nothing’s been solved… We need to know who did it and what for to such a beautiful young lady.”
Family members and friends on Saturday canvassed the neighborhood on Gadsden Avenue near Avenue K in Lancaster, passing out flyers to residents and placing them in neighborhood stores in the area. They’re hoping that someone somewhere may have information that can help them bring Hawkins’ killer to justice.
On Monday, April 16, 2001, the body of Antelope Valley Hospital nurse Biiiance Hawkins, 33, was found bound in the bedroom of her first-floor apartment at 43223 Gadsden Avenue in Lancaster. There was duct tape across her face, her arms were duct taped behind her, her feet were duct taped together, and her throat was slashed, according to investigators. Hawkins was not sexually assaulted and there were no signs of forced entry to the apartment. Though her body was found on a Monday, officials believe she was killed some time over the weekend.
Investigators honed in on her boyfriend at the time, Eugene Ross, who also went by the nicknames “China” and “Evil.”
“Eugene Ross was her former boyfriend, he was cheating on her and she found out about it… he’d been making threatening phone calls to her at work,” said Sgt. Richard Longshore, who has been investigating the case from the very beginning.
Longshore said Ross was questioned on the murder and jailed on a parole violation, but eventually he had to be released because they did not have enough proof to connect him to killing Hawkins.
Ross was since convicted of killing a man in Las Vegas in 2006. The victim, 22-year-old Joseph Kevin Smalley, was reportedly bound with duct tape and forced to give up the combination to his safe before he was shot several times. Ross was sentenced to 20 to 50 years for that murder.
“With the murder that he did in Las Vegas, he certainly has piqued our interest,” said Longshore. “Now that being said, I’m not closing my eyes to any other possibilities, because we just don’t know at this point.”
Longshore said he traveled to Las Vegas to speak to the people who handled the Vegas murder and to search for any information that might link the two crimes. He said they have also tried using DNA evidence from the duct tape to solve Hawkins’ murder.
“Every time that some new technique comes out, I resubmit the evidence to see if there’s anything else that we can do,” said Longshore. “It hasn’t panned out yet, but we continue to try.”
Longshore is hoping that the community can provide him with the answers he needs to finally bring closure to the case.
“She did not die easily and it needs to be solved,” he said. “I’m hoping that someone that knows what happened, and I know that there are people that know what happened, will have their conscience pricked and give me a phone call.”
If you or anyone you know has information regarding the murder of Biiiance Hawkins, please contact Sgt. Richard Longshore at 323-890-5500.
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