Patricia Colon remembers every word of the last conversation she had with her 21-year-old son, Tyrone Cathcart Jr. He called to see if she had any leftover fried chicken, his favorite.
"He said he would be over about 9:30 p.m. But he never showed up. I was lying down on the bed and about 10:30 I felt a sharp pain in the back of my head," Ms. Colon said.
When the pain ended, the telephone rang and a new hurt began. Her son had been killed.
On April 26, 1998, Mr. Cathcart was shot to death at his manufactured home in Plantation Acres on Deans Bridge Road. Richmond County sheriff's investigators are working on the case still, but no one has been charged.
"The last time I talked to the investigator he said everything has come back from the crime lab and he would wrap everything up and be in touch soon," Ms. Colon said. That was a month ago.
"I just want to know (who killed Tyrone Cathcart Jr.) to put some closure to this," Ms. Colon said.
Eleven days after Mr. Cathcart was killed, his fiancee gave birth to a baby boy. Mr. Cathcart had already bought an Easter basket for the baby, a thought that still brings a smile to his mother's face.
"He was so excited. He was happy he was having a son. He couldn't wait. All of that was taken away. This child will never see him," Ms. Colon said.
Mr. Cathcart and 24 other Augusta residents slain in 1998 will be remembered tonight at a dinner to commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Week.
The event is sponsored by the Augusta chapter of Blacks Against Black Crime Inc., an organization that provides services and assistance to crime victims.
Ms. Colon will attend the dinner and hopes one day to work with Blacks Against Black Crime, talking to young people. "All this killing has to stop," she said.
For now, she counsels her son's friends, Ms. Colon said.
"I don't have any answers but I think a lot of positive has come out of his death for his friends.
"But for us, it's just a loss.
"I have good days and bad days. For me, it's vivid right here," Ms. Colon said as she placed a hand over her heart. People don't know what to say to her anymore and avoid any mention of her son, Ms. Colon said.
But she wants to talk about her son, the one who always found an easy, joking way to deal with life's problems. The one who seemed to know instinctively that life is short.
Since he was 12 years old, Mr. Cathcart demanded a ritual from his mother before he could leave the house. If she forgot, he would prompt her until she remembered, Ms. Colon said.
"He always wanted to hear me tell him, `Be careful."'
Sandy Hodson covers courts for The Augusta Chronicle. She may be reached at (706) 823-3226
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