Mounting evidence suggests that the killer of Ennis Cosby shot him without coming into close contact with his victim, a scenario that would make the police investigation more difficult because it reduces the chance that trace evidence will connect a suspect to the crime.
Among the clues that sources say suggest a lack of close contact: There was nothing obviously missing from Cosby's car; the area surrounding Cosby's vehicle was relatively undisturbed, suggesting, along with other physical evidence, that he died without a struggle, and fingerprints lifted from his car have yet to yield any matches to likely suspects.
Although a number of fingerprints were taken from Cosby's car, sources said that none of those tested so far match computerized criminal fingerprints. That is discouraging to authorities because investigators believe any culprit capable of committing a coldblooded crime such as Cosby's killing is likely to have previously been in trouble with the law.
Still, police sources said additional print tests are being performed and investigators are hopeful that they will help identify a suspect. Cmdr. Tim McBride, a spokesman for the LAPD, declined to comment about any physical evidence but said investigators have "got a bunch of good clues, and they're working them."
Police said they are still not sure whether the killer stumbled upon Ennis Cosby early last Thursday as he changed a flat tire on a dark road near the top of the Sepulveda Pass or whether the tire was sabotaged earlier, with the suspect following him until it went flat. Detectives hope the answer to that riddle will emerge from expert analysis of the tire, which was cut and damaged.
Intense interest in the case continued Wednesday, as the television program "America's Most Wanted" prepared to feature the Cosby suspect this week and the Los Angeles City Council approved a $25,000 reward. That amount is added to the $300,000 already offered by two tabloid newspapers and $12,500 posted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
In New York, meanwhile, two suspects accused of attempting to extort up to $40 million from Bill Cosby continued to be held by federal authorities and were scrambling to make bail.
A lawyer for suspect Jose Medina said Wednesday that his client is being held in a segregated prison unit because authorities fear for his safety. Medina was arrested Saturday along with Autumn Jackson, who claims to be Cosby's illegitimate daughter.
Cosby's spokesman has denied that the comedian is the father of Jackson, 22, while acknowledging that for several years the entertainer had made payments to help her and others attend college.
Jackson's birth certificate in Los Angeles County lists her father as a man who was a self-employed tailor at the time of her birth in 1974 at Fox Hills Community Hospital.
Times staff writers James Rainey, Matt Lait and Josh Meyer contributed to this story.