Clarence and Brian Gehrke

WSVN — In 1975, a father and son were gunned down in the dining room of their South Dade home, and despite a lengthy investigation, the case went cold and stayed that way for four decades. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight’s Out for Justice, Miami-Dade detectives have reopened this cold case and need your help in solving it.

You have heard it a thousand times because it’s true: Enjoy time with your loved ones, because you never know what will happen.

Bonnie Mayer: “And I came over for dinner, and Brian was there and my dad was there, and they made dinner and we just spent time together.”

That was the last time Bonnie Mayer saw the dad she adored, Clarence Gehrke.

Bonnie Mayer: “He took us bowling, we were at the beach all the time. Anything you could think of, we would go.”

And that dinner was the last time she saw her brother Brian.

Bonnie Mayer: “We were very close. He was my little brother, but he was very protective of me; very sweet, very smart.”

Then, on October 10th, 1975, Bonnie got a call from a neighbor…

Bonnie Mayer: “Saying, ‘Bonnie, there’s something bad. You have to come. It’s the worst.'”

This 1975 footage from the Wolfson Archives shows the scene Bonnie saw when she got to her father’s house. Clarence and Brian had been murdered. Bonnie fiancé at the time, and now husband, Bob Mayer, was a reporter at WTVJ. He went to the scene to console her.

Bonnie Mayer: “From that moment on, I feel like I was just in shock, that I couldn’t believe that two members of my family were gone.”

Miami-Dade Police went to work.

Miami-Dade Police Detective Bobby Miller: “Clarence was an inspector for the City of Miami Public Works Department.”

As they investigated, detectives learned Clarence had inspected a project and failed it. The contractor was not happy.

Detective Bobby Miller: “Stephen Holland was the general contractor in charge. Having failed on two separate occasions, let’s just say his temper got the better of him. There was an assault and battery made upon Clarence which ultimately resulted in Mr. Holland’s arrest.”

Clarence had sued Holland for injuries he suffered in the attack. Bonnie remembers her father telling her about some strange phone calls.

Bonnie Mayer: “People would call, and then nobody would be on the line and hang up. He was concerned, but he didn’t say that he was overly concerned.”

But the calls worried Brian, too, so much the 24-year-old moved back in with his dad to help protect him. He couldn’t.

As for the contractor, detectives asked him to come in and take a lie detector test. He did. He didn’t pass. He didn’t fail. According to the examiner, he had reactions that showed some deception about the murders of Clarence and Brian.

Detective Bobby Miller: “Having knowledge of it, yes, but having indirect involvement; ergo, maybe he didn’t actually commit the murder, but maybe he had somebody carry it out on his behalf.”

But without conclusive proof, police could not file any charges. But now, 40 years later, Detective Miller has sent the evidence gathered so long ago to labs, to see if new technology can solve the old case.

Detective Bobby Miller: “I’m rolling the dice and hoping that I’m going to be a winner.”

Bonnie Mayer: “I have some hope.”

Bonnie, Bob and their family have joined with Crime Stoppers to offer a new reward, $10,000, to encourage someone who may have heard something, to say something.

Detective Bobby Miller: “You always have to have hope that there is at least one individual out there that knows something about Clarence and Brian’s murder.”

Losing a loving father is horrible. Losing a father and brother at the same time and not seeing the killer caught is unimaginable.

Bonnie Mayer: “They were both such really good people, and they didn’t deserve to die.”

Forty years is a long time to wait. Maybe someone who knows something about the murders of Clarence and Brian said something to you. Pick up the phone, call Crime Stoppers and collect the $10,000 check.

And if you have lost a loved one and want to remind people you are still out for justice, give us a call. With this Out for Justice, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Miami-Dade: 305-598-HELP (4357)
Broward: 954-796-HELP (4357)