It was bad enough for Michelle Singleton that a report written by Savannah-Chatham police rated the chances as "low probability" for solving the June 7 shooting death of her 18-year-old son.
Even worse, Singleton and her three remaining sons know 300 people watched as Dontrell Singleton fell to the ground in a hail of bullets at 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Henry Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
But what racks her brain the most is that no one has come forward with information to help capture her son's assailants.
"Just look inside your heart and put yourself in my position for a minute and understand how I feel and what I've been through," Michelle Singleton said. "This person is still out there. Who says this person won't do it to you or someone you know and love?"
Dontrell Singleton's slaying is one of 10 homicides reported to metro police that remain unsolved this year. Sixteen homicides altogether have been reported.
Go to savannahnow.com/datacentral to search a database of the 2008 and 2009 homicides in Chatham County.
Coping with a 38 percent "solve rate," metro police investigators say their frustration lies with those who have key information about a case or who have witnessed a crime but choose not to come forward.
"There were witnesses out there. There were a lot of witnesses out there," said metro police Maj. Mark Gerbino, commander of the department's Criminal Investigation Division, describing Singleton's slaying. "We need their help."
Police homicide investigators and Michelle Singleton say they know the street code of silence too well. In the days after the murder of her son and the flurry of homicide detectives began to subside, Michelle Singleton said she pleaded with her son's friends.
"I got all his friends together who I knew were with him that night. I told them it's not a matter of snitching, but to just shoot a person down in the street over nothing, that's not snitching," she said. "You'd want to see justice over someone who killed your friend."
Michelle Singleton is not alone in her frustration. Metro police Sgt. Andre Jackson said the majority of his cases begin with a disagreement between the suspect and the victim. Also the suspect knows his or her victim in 95 percent of all homicide cases.
However, despite those advantages, the people surrounding the suspect and the victim often keep quiet.
"We need to get enough evidence so we can go to court," Jackson said. "Sometimes we know who our suspect is, but to get the evidence to make the case against the person, that's where we have the downfall."
No tipping hands
Jackson said another frustration is keeping the case alive in the minds of witnesses without divulging too much of what police know about the case. A lot of information on a given homicide remains under wraps - even from family members - so police can preserve the value of the evidence they collect.
"We kind of hold something back, so if we do get that information from the source - somebody who wants to come forward with their information, we can tell the validity of the information - whether it's good or not good," Jackson said.
He said investigators might have enough information to take someone into custody. However, in many cases, they fear the evidence they've collected won't hold up in court.
That's where additional witnesses come in.
"If we had 100 people who saw something, we'd want 100 witnesses," he said. "They might have seen 10 seconds or a second of something and they'll think, 'Oh, it's not important, and the police are already out here.'
"Everybody talks about who the suspect is and they think that maybe we've got enough. But we do need people to come forward."
Michelle Singleton said another of her sons, Larry Lee, 23, was fatally shot as he approached a group of men at the corner of 34th and Montgomery streets at mid-afternoon on Dec. 29, 2007.
That case also remains unsolved.
"I remember not so long ago saying, 'Mind your own business and don't get involved,'" she said. "But when it hits home, it's a whole different situation."
Moreover, until someone comes forward with information about the slayings of her two boys, her 14-year-old son will continue to have nightmares, she said.
And for metro police investigators, the Dontrell Singleton case - as well as 9 others - will remain under investigation, Jackson said.
10 open cases for 2009
Savannah-Chatham police are seeking information to help solve 10 cases of homicide reported so far in 2009. Below is a list of the victims:
-- Leroy Jiles, Jan. 20
-- Jacques Baker, Jan. 24
-- Larry Donnell Wingster, March 19
-- Willie Armaad Clark, March 26
-- Rickey Romond Byrd, April 7
-- Jayshawn Johnson, April 21
-- Kwasi Williams, April 27
-- Darrell Lamont Jackson, May 6
-- Marcus D. Allen, June 27
-- Cameron Holmes, July 1
Metro police investigators said anyone with even a morsel of information on a case should contact CrimeStoppers at 912-234-2020.
I too like this dialogue "Mind your own business and don't get involved"
Hey I think you should post about Burn Notice Lyrics..