Macon Police refuse to answer family's questions about unsolved murder case
A spokesperson for the Macon Police Department says it will not be addressing accusations that it lost forensic evidence in a murder investigation from 1997.
Latoya Berrian was 19-years-old when her body was found beaten and burned in an alley off Carling Avenue in Macon on December 2, 1997. Now, Berrian's mother Tangelyn says, police have begun screening her calls when she asks for updates on the case.
The family gathers twice a year at Latoya's grave in Woodlawn Cemetery to ask the public for help in a case they say the Macon Police have given up on.
"it's like cancer, ain't no cure for it ... every year it gets harder and harder for us," said Tangelyn Berrian.
According to WGXA archives, a friend says she last saw Latoya get in a green Buick Regal driven by a man named Tony. Three hours later, her body was found beaten and burned in an alley.
Police say they aren't releasing any information about the case because of the ongoing investigation, but family members of the victim believe they may not even be trying.
Latoya's aunt Linda Berrian-Wells says she and her sister learned from a city council member that Latoya's Debit and EBT cards were used after she was dead. They say the cards were used by the friend that released the initial statements to police, who was also the last person questioned to see Latoya alive.
Family members also say the same city council member told them police had found hair follicles and other forensic evidence underneath Latoya's fingernails, but the department had lost the evidence.
"Every year it's getting to be deeper and deeper into their cold case, you know, and that makes me feel like, ain't nothing going to be did about it," said Tangelyn.
"If they had to try harder, they could have did it while it was fresh, now it's getting older and it's getting harder, the trail is getting colder," said Linda.
Linda believes whoever murdered her Niece is still in Macon and is still in contact with Latoya's siblings.
"Whoever did this is probably still around, still coming to the family, you know from time to time and we have no idea who it is," she said.
While the family is still keeping faith in the police department ... all they can do now is reach out and hope anyone with any knowledge can help them solve the crime.
"I love her, and i hope whoever did it, they turn themselves in," said Tangelyn.
According to the family CRIMESTOPPERS is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. If you have any information you're asked to call 1-877-68-CRIME.