On January 23rd, 2019 at approximately 7:40 P.M., Redding Police Officers responded to reports of a stabbing that had just occurred at 2242 Everest Way in west Redding. Arriving officers located 67 year old Robert Whitman of Redding down inside the residence. Whitman was suffering from multiple stab wounds including a life threatening wound to his neck. Robert Whitman’s wife, 67 year old Minerva Whitman, was also found to have suffered a stab wound to her face. Both victims were rushed to Mercy Medical Center for treatment. Robert Whitman did not survive. Minerva Whitman was treated and released.
Responding officers interviewed other witnesses at the scene of the stabbing and learned that the Whitmans were at the residence on Everest Way for a dinner gathering. Witnesses at the scene identified the attacker who stabbed Robert and Minerva Whitman as 46 year old Francis Peter Lane of Redding. Lane who others at the party new as “Frank” had been invited to the gathering and was an acquaintance of the Whitman family. The Whitman family had attempted to help Lane in the past as he was having trouble dealing with problems in his life.
Witnesses told officers Lane arrived at the residence at approximately 7:40 P.M.. He asked for Robert Whitman by name and was invited in. He quickly proceeded to the area of the residence where Robert Whitman was located and immediately began stabbing him. Minerva Whitman attempted to intervene and was told by Lane to stop or he would stab her too. Minerva ignored the threat and continued to try and stop the attack on her husband. In response, Lane attempted to stab Minerva in the neck but missed striking her in the face.
Lane immediately left the residence after the stabbing. He was inside the residence for a very short time and did not speak more than a few words. He fled the scene in his vehicle, a white 2011 Toyota Tacoma.
Redding Police Investigators responded to the scene and began gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and attempting to locate the suspect Frank Lane. Surveillance video was located at nearby residences showing Lane arriving at the residence, entering, and leaving a short time later. Panicked witnesses can also be seen exiting the residence seeking help from neighbors.
Redding Police Officers and Investigators began scouring the city attempting to locate Lane. Information regarding the crime and a description of Lane was released to the public in the hopes of bringing quick resolution to the case. Investigators received information from acquaintances of Lane’s that he had been acting strange recently, was dangerous, and potentially armed.
Investigators worked through the night and at approximately 3:00 A.M. on January 24th, 2019, Lane’s truck was located at the south end of Dream Street in Redding, a short distance away from where the original homicide occurred. Frank Lane was found deceased inside the vehicle with what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds to his arms. A knife consistent with the weapon used to murder Robert Whitman was located inside the vehicle.
No other suspects were involved in this tragic killing. No other persons are being sought in regards to this case. The Redding Police Department wishes to thank the members of our community who provided assistance with this investigation.
Sergeant Todd Cogle #301
Redding Police Department