OAKLAND PARK (CBSMiami) – A huge smile and big laugh – that’s what everyone remembers about Chad McMurray.
His mom, June, treasures a slightly out of focus picture of her and her son from August of 2010. It was the last photo snapped of the two.
“I can’t see him any other way than with that smile,” she said. “He had that smile in the picture.”
Chad moved to Fort Lauderdale from Greensboro, North Carolina.
He and Shannon Prewitt dated for a year and shared a home in Oakland Park.
“He was very spontaneous,” recalled Prewitt, smiling as he remembered. “He lived every day like it was his last.”
On August 31, 2010, Prewitt was out of town and grew worried when he could not reach Chad.
“I knew something was wrong,” he recalled.
And he was right.
He had friends go by their home to check on him. Chad was dead inside. He was tied up, shot in the head and left in a pool of blood. It was an execution, according to one detective.
Chad’s dad, George, remembers getting the news and telling his wife.
“I think the hardest thing I ever done was telling her our son is dead,” George said.
“It’s like your heart is shredded,” said June.
Chad was a big guy. Investigators believe it may have taken two or more people to pull off the murder. They also think Chad may have known his killers, even letting them in the house.
When it was done, Chad’s computer was missing, along with his 2006 silver Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. That truck was found not long after at the Brampton Court Apartments in the 4400 block of NW 19th Street in Lauderhill. The complex is now called Summit Palm. Investigators believe the key to solving the crime is in that parking lot.
“The suspect did certain things to the vehicle in an attempt to eliminate physical evidence that we believe would have been witnessed,” said BSO Homicide Det. John Curcio.
Det. Curcio believes the killers may have lived nearby and that people would have noticed them with the truck.
Chad was in recovery for drug use. Investigators believe he may have used again and the killers could have been related to that life he left behind.
At any rate, detectives believe this case can be solved.
“For something like this, people don’t keep quiet,” said Prewitt. “They lip, it’s just a matter of who they tell and if that person’s going to tell. Somebody knows!”
Chad’s parents believe the same thing. And if they ever saw the killers face to face, they have a message, a surprising one.
“I’ve pushed away the hate, the revenge and I forgave whoever it was,” said George.
Despite that forgiveness in their hearts, it does nothing to ease their pain five years later.
“That’s your child,” said June quietly. “That’s someone you gave birth to, you gave life to and for somebody to take their life is the hardest think that I’ve ever had to go through.”
If you have information that can solve the case, call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.