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Questions remain in homicide case

Posted: November 6, 2012 - 1:45pm
Tyesha Simmons, 35, of North Augusta, holds a picture of her brother Travis Smith who was fatally shot while standing outside a friend's complex on September 29. "Our loved one is gone and we have no answers," said Simmons, who has grown frustrated that no information has been offered to the police. "We just want closure."   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Tyesha Simmons, 35, of North Augusta, holds a picture of her brother Travis Smith who was fatally shot while standing outside a friend's complex on September 29. "Our loved one is gone and we have no answers," said Simmons, who has grown frustrated that no information has been offered to the police. "We just want closure."

On Sept. 29, Johnnie Mae Mims was called to a crime scene, where she found her nephew dead. Today she has as many unanswered questions as she did when she first saw the police tape.

“Sometimes these things take a while to shake out,” North Au­gusta Public Safety Lt. Tim Thorn­ton said of the unsolved homicide of Travis Smith, 28.

Police said Smith and a woman were standing outside a Ridge­view Manor apartment building on Bradleyville Road when he was fatally shot around 2:45 a.m.

Police believe two men in hoodies fired the shot in Smith’s direction as he and the woman tried to run inside.

All the family knows is that Smith had been visiting a friend at the complex when he said, “I’ll be right back,” but never returned.

“I don’t know why,” sister Tyesha Simmons said. “They don’t have a motive or suspect. There’s nothing. No one can tell me anything.”

Police offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest, but no one has come forward.

“We believe there is more to the story than what was told so far,” Thornton said of the city’s only homicide of the year. “We believe more information is out there, but witnesses are reluctant to come forward.”

Family remember Smith as a quiet man who generally kept to himself. For the past year he had taken care of his elderly grandmother at his family home just a few streets down from Ridgeview Ma­nor.

They suspect he might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Police said the woman he was with, who was originally referred to as a girlfriend, remains a person of interest because of her involvement in the case and unanswered questions.

Simmons said she’s unaware of any women in Smith’s life other than his 9-year-old daughter.

“(His daughter) is having a hard time,” Simmons said. “He was coming back into her life, and she was getting really attached. She keeps asking why (he died).”

Family members hope someone will come forward with information to answer the question on all their minds.

“I’m trying to plead with the people in those apartments for any information, no matter how insignificant you think it might be,” Simmons said.

In the meantime, she wears a purple ribbon with a gold “T” on her shirt in honor of her brother.

Mims said her greatest fear is that people will start to forget and that an answer will never come.

UNSOLVED NORTH AUGUSTA HOMICIDES

SEPT. 18, 2000: Clifford Wayne Williams, 48, was shot at the Highlander Pub on Georgia Avenue by a man with whom he had been drinking beer. Witnesses said the two argued and the other man stood up and shot Williams in the chest with a revolver.

JAN. 27, 1992: Leroy “Leo” Roosevelt McCoy, 28, and Joseph Nathan Tillman, 28, were found shot in the 600 block of Boylan Street.

OCT. 30, 1990: Gloria Ann Dickinson, 44, was found strangled in Room 11 of the Downtown Motel in the 100 block of Georgia Avenue.

MAY 9, 1977: G.C. Sailors and his wife, Gwendolyn, were shot to death in a corner bedroom of their Tamarack Drive home near North Augusta. Gwendolyn Sailors managed a Broad Street store. Her husband was a Savannah River Plant employee. Each was shot four times.

REWARD OFFERED

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the shooting of Travis Smith. Callers, who may remain anonymous, can contact Crimestoppers at (888) CRIME-SC.

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