FOR KIPP CRAWFORD'S family, the mystery surrounding his death this past November is a difficult burden to bear.

The well-liked 32-year-old musician was a drummer for numerous local bands, including Celilo, until two separate drunken drivers ran him over on North Willamette early in the morning of November 4, 2009 ["Getting Away with It," News, Nov 12, 2009]. Crawford had been seen biking home from a bar in Willamette's eastbound bike lane, and the Portland Police Bureau spent four months investigating how he wound up in the westbound traffic lane where the two drivers hit him.

In an emotional press conference on Thursday, February 18, Detective Bryan Steed revealed that witnesses saw someone standing over Crawford moments before the fateful cars came through. The two appeared to be arguing before the unknown suspect fled.

Steed was hesitant to give details of the investigation, but said that physical evidence and "items missing from Crawford's person" point to assault and robbery. Police suspect Crawford was mugged while riding his bike. He was left lying in the road just as the two drunken drivers came by.

"Something caused him to fall off his bicycle," said Detective Steed.

Because Crawford was run over twice, it has been tough for police to gather solid physical clues.

"This is a very tough case," Steed told reporters. Investigators do not believe Crawford was involved in any altercations in bars that night.

Crawford's mother and father appeared heartbroken last week over the death of their only son. At the police press conference, the pair begged for public help to aid the police investigation.

Crawford's father, Vern, struggled to speak through tears. "It hurts a lot. Not just for us, but for his sister. We want to know what happened before those cars came along."

"I'm in shock and despair," said Crawford's mother, Jean. "I would implore anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers and share any information, to come up with some reason so that we may eventually have some understanding of how we lost our only son."

Crime Stoppers is offering $1,000 for anonymous information that leads to an arrest in Crawford's case. The number to call with information is 503-823-HELP.

The Portland music community mourned the loss of Crawford after his death, hosting a memorial show for him at Mississippi Studios in November.

Crawford was one of 15 cyclists and pedestrians to die on Portland's roads last year. Both drivers who struck Crawford were charged with driving under the influence. One of the drivers, Felisa Washington-Berry, had her license suspended after a crash in 2003.