Originally published as a City of Fontana Police Department Facebook post –
‘The following is a message from victim John’s son Bob –
John Carl Burkhardt was born on April 2, 1918, in Mankato, Minnesota. He attended high school at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles. When he graduated, he moved to Fontana.
John Carl Burkhardt was an honorable man. He served his country by volunteering to serve in the Navy. John mattered to his country and left the service with honor. I can’t imagine the horrors he had to live with as a result of his service. However, he was able to overcome them and live a very successful life.
My dad was tormented with alcoholism but was able to join AA and maintain sobriety for many years. He wanted to share his success with others. He mattered to his community and was actively involved. He volunteered his time to help others with drug and alcohol dependencies by mentoring those in the program. His active involvement and mentorship for those recovering meant everything to him. His devotion to his Catholic beliefs helped drive his mentorship with the AA program.
He retired, in 1983, from Kaiser Steel at the age of 65 after 36 years of hard work as a carpenter. He continued to socialize with his lifelong friends in the community. He traveled, camped, and fished with his wife, Omie, until her death in 1987 from cancer. He was just starting to build a new life after this devastating loss.
He was a father of two, grandfather of five, uncle of five, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and friend to many. He could have been a wonderful great-grandfather. Instead, he was taken away on March 25, 1990, just prior to his birthday on April 2.
Through the dedicated and tenacious pursuit of justice, detective Katie Clark was able to put together all of the clues that led to finding and bringing to justice the murderer of my dad. She worked with the deputy district attorney Lloyd Masson to pursue the case in court. Cyndi Anzenberger was the victim advocate that continued to keep our family appraised of the progress in the case. She was also there for us to read our victim statements in court.
We are very grateful that this case was solved after 32 years. This story should be focused on the pursuit of justice and the need to continue this work to bring closure to families affected by the loss of loved ones in cases that may seem to be forgotten.
On Sunday, March 25, 1990, Victim John Carl Burkhardt DOB 04/02/1918 was found deceased in the living room of his home located at 8680 Mango Avenue in the City of Fontana. Burkhardt was stabbed multiple times and his home was ransacked. A close friend of the victim found him in his residence after he failed to show up for breakfast. Investigators at the time followed up on and exhausted all leads and the case went cold.
In 2003, a witness came forward stating she witnessed the murder and identified the suspect as Michael Joseph Vance DOB 03/31/1966. The witness stated Suspect Vance asked her to go with him to pick up his paycheck from the victim. Both the suspect and victim had been invited inside the residence. An argument took place between the victim and suspect over money owed to the suspect. The suspect obtained a steak knife from the kitchen and stabbed the victim numerous times. After his death, the suspect and witness stole items from the residence before leaving.
During the initial investigation, multiple items of evidence, including fingerprints were collected from inside the residence by evidence technicians. Through the years with technological advancements, the suspect’s fingerprints were found inside the residence and on the murder weapon. During an interview, the suspect denied knowing the victim, doing work for the victim, and being inside the residence.
In September of 2021, this case was presented to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, and charges were filed against Suspect Michael Joseph Vance for PC-187(a) – murder, PC-192(a)-Voluntary Manslaughter, and PC-12022(a)(1) – use of a dangerous or deadly weapon. In April of 2022, Suspect Vance accepted a plea for Voluntary Manslaughter. Suspect Vance will serve his sentence in State Prison concurrently with another sentence he is currently serving for an unrelated charge.
Great Job by Fontana Police Detective Kathryn Clark and the Cold Case Division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Division.
@fontanapd #cityoffontana #detective #victims #neverquit #joinFPD”