Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of a Pearl River, Louisiana teen's death. 18-year-old Mark "Mitch" Mitchell was riding his bike on Lakeshore Road in Hancock County when he was struck and killed by a hit and run driver. To this day, no arrest has ever been made in the case. That has made it even harder for grieving family members to cope with their loss.
Family and friends of Mitch Mitchell returned to the scene of the crime Tuesday night to remember a young man whose life was cut short. They held a candlelight vigil in his honor. Mitch's mother Mamie remembers her son as a loving young man. "I called him my gentle giant because he was a 6'4" very sweet young man. He wanted to be an attorney. He loved to read."
Mitch's body was found on the side of Lakeshore Road. The bike he was riding was nearby. Hancock County Sheriff's officials have ruled the death an unfortunate hit and run accident. But family members believe he was murdered. Mitch had been harassed and threatened by some teens in Lakeshore because he dressed in new wave attire.
Mamie Mitchell says, "It all stems from the clothes, the dyed hair, the body piercing. They threatened to kill him and everyone like him. There's also another young man in the area that's being harassed and threatened." That young man didn't want to be identified because he fears for his safety. But he said "They always threatened to beat me up and stuff. One time one of them threatened to kill me."
Frustrated family members say the investigation into who killed their son was botched from the beginning. Mitch's father Mark told WLOX NEWS, "We say murder because there is just too much evidence it doesn't match a hit and run. It looks like he was beaten and hit in the back of the head with something."
But Chief Investigator Bob Lambert stands behind his case. "I can not answer as to why they feel there's another motive to this situation. If it leads to that, I've told them numerous times that we will follow up and change our viewpoint on the investigation, but there is nothing to go in that direction at this time." Hancock County Sheriff Steve Garber agrees," We are concerned, and I understand we definitely want closure. My prayers goes out to the family. Anytime you lose a son, or a family member, it's got to be tough."