DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Every year, for the last 10 years, one North Texas family sets out on the same journey. They travel to Lincoln Memorial Cemetery to the gravesite of Larry Joe Tutson.
“He was a wonderful, wonderful young man,” said Tutson’s mother, Barbara Smith, as tears ran down her face. “He was a great father to his kids and he was a great son to me.”
On May 30, 2002 a female friend of Larry Joe’s was in trouble and needed a place to stay.
Minutes after he checked her into east Dallas’ Regency Motel, two men kicked the door in, robbed them at gunpoint, and then shot Larry Joe in the chest.
The 29-year-old died later that night at the hospital.
Marvin Ned, a 25-year veteran on the Dallas Police department, was the lead detective at that time.
“In this case it was truly an innocent victim,” said Ned.
The female friend who had sought help from Larry Joe and witnessed the shooting helped compile a sketch of the killer.
“You follow the leads until you get to a place where there is no more new information.” Ned said. “The case is never closed. It remains open forever if it’s a homicide.”
Dallas police said at the time there had been similar armed robberies happening at east Dallas hotels.
Over the years police arrested several robbery suspects, but never linked any of the crimes to the murder of Larry Joe.
Now, a decade later, Larry Joe Tutson’s murder is a cold case.
“It’s been 10 years but its just like yesterday,” Mrs. Smith said. “I’m hoping and praying that it comes to pass, but for me it’s got to happen.”
Larry Joe’s two children are now 13 and 19 years old.
The elder teen is a sophomore at Stephen F. Austin State University and is doing well, but says he’d be better if he had his father.
“Without having a father in the house–you miss some of those quality things you’re supposed to know to become a man.”
On the 10 year anniversary of Larry Joe Tutson’s death the family shared fond memories and released bright colored balloons in honor of the vibrant 29 year old they lost.
While remembering helps with healing the family would prefer to have answers and justice.
“Whoever knows something, come to the forefront and be a blessing to this family and a blessing to yourself by bringing the truth to the light,” Tutson’s father, Gregg Smith, urged.
As for Tutson’s mother, she’s doing her best to forgive the person who took the life of her loving son.
“I have no hate in my heart for that person but I would like to have some closure.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (877) 373-8477 (TIPS) or contact the Dallas Police Department.