The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced Tuesday it has completed its active investigation into the Nov. 29, 2012 murder of Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker, and they say the evidence points to one man as the killer.
Investigators said they gathered enough evidence that would have led to the arrest of Eric Thomes for Decker's murder, but Thomes took his own life before detectives arrived to interview him.
Although the BCA's active investigation is complete, the case will remain open and any new leads will still be investigated.
Previously, investigators would only call Thomes a person of interest, but they also said they believe he owned the black van with a loud muffler that was seen leaving the crime scene outside Winners Bar. Detectives also recovered the murder weapon -- a 20-gauge shotgun -- in a place Thomes had access to.
The exact events of what occurred the night Decker was killed and the motive are still a mystery, but police say they are confident Thomes is the culprit.
FAMILY SUSPECTED THOMES TOO
Although the investigation is now providing some answers, family members still grieve the loss of the man they knew as Tommy.
"It's not going to bring my brother back," Billy Decker told FOX 9 News.
Billy Decker told FOX 9 News the announcement on Tuesday confirmed what the family already believed.
"We figured it was Eric Thomes from all the rumors and all we heard," he said.
The Decker family still hopes to understand exactly why their loved one was shot and killed in the line of duty, and detectives are still seeking those answers as well.
RYAN LARSON CLEARED
A joint statement released by the BCA and Stearns County Sheriff's Office effectively cleared former suspect Ryan Larson, who lived upstairs from Winner's Bar and was arrested hours after the shooting only to be released without charges.
The BCA said their investigation has provided no information suggesting Larson participated in Decker's murder. The conclusion of the investigation may bring consolation to Larson, who told FOX 9 News he was at his "wit's end" trying to clear his name.
Larson was the first man arrested in connection with case, and he was released with no charges filed after spending five days in jail. The BCA added there is no known connection between Eric Thomes and Ryan Larson related to Officer Decker's murder.
Anyone with additional information related to the murder of Tom Decker or the actions of Eric Thomes between Decker's murder and Thomes' suicide, is urged to contact the Stearns County sheriff's office at 877-782-5683 or the BCA at 877-996-6222 or email@example.com
RYAN LARSON: 'All I want is my name cleared'
Interview at http://bit.ly/14gHshQ
PHOTOS: Honoring Officer Tom Decker
'Person of interest' Eric Thomes found dead
VIDEO: Eric Thomes pulled over by Decker's partner