Toronto police said Friday they've made a breakthrough in the death of 27-year-old Christopher Skinner, who was beaten, then run over and left to die, on a downtown street four years ago.

Skinner died after getting into an altercation with the occupants of a black SUV near Adelaide Street East and Victoria Street on Oct. 19, 2009.

The attack happened at 3 a.m. Skinner had been celebrating his younger sister's birthday and was walking down Adelaide away from the city's Entertainment District.

Police say Skinner was trying to hail a cab when his hand made contact — possibly inadvertently — with the passing SUV.

Kicked to the ground

The occupants got out of the vehicle, kicked Skinner to the ground, then returned to the vehicle, police allege.   

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Christopher Skinner, 27, died after he was run over by an SUV on Oct. 18, 2009. The case, which police are treating as a homicide, remains unsolved. (Facebook)

The driver then hit the gas and drove right over Skinner and away from the scene, investigators say.

On Friday, police said they've figured out the make, model, year range and colour of the SUV.

"The investigative team is identifying through various databases potential owners of vehicles in 2009, which in turn will lead us to the driver of this vehicle," Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant, who has been working the case, said at a news conference. 

Gallant has previously said he's confident of eventually tracking down the SUV's occupants.

'One of these days we will be knocking at your door.'- Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant

"One of these days, we will be knocking on your door," he said last year. "You can expect that to happen."

The victim's mother, Ellen Skinner, also said she's confident they will be found:

"You don't get away with stuff like this, not with the team we have working on it. I think it's important for them to know that they are going to have to answer."

There is still a $150,000 reward for information leading to arrests in the case: $50,000 from Toronto police and $100,000 raised by the family.

Family members have also turned to social media to gather tips, including:

  • A Twitter account and hastag: @findchriskiller, #FindChrisKiller.
  • A Facebook page: Facebook.com/findchriskiller. Tips to this account can be submitted anonymously.
  • YouTube account with all the relevant video related to the case, including security camera footage from the night Christopher died and footage of his vigil.

Anyone with information about the case can also contact Toronto police or Crime Stoppers.

Watch the 2012 news conference on the unsolved Christopher Skinner homicide: