The Missing Piece: Brandon Shells

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Five years has gone by and Brandon Shells’ family is still wondering who murdered him just days before he would’ve turned 19 years old.

Even now, Crystal Shells’ pain and heartache is still raw over her son’s death.

“I’m just not the same. And I just really miss my son.”

“I’m just not the same. And I just really miss my son. There’s nothing – Never gonna get that back,” cries Crystal.

Brandon, or BJ as he was lovingly referred to by his family, was brutally gunned down in October 2013. His grandmother got the call from police.

“That was the worst day of my life – of all of our lives,”

“That was the worst day of my life – of all of our lives,” recounts BJ’s grandmother, Jackie Shells. “Still miss him so much.”

His death took a toll on his younger sister, Ciara Shells.

“He always gave me good advice. He was like a brother and a dad,” cries Ciara.

Dayton Police Detective Daryl Smith was the original detective on the case.

“Very little in the way of evidence there,” describes Smith. “It was an unusual case.”

While neighbors and an officer patrolling the area heard gunshots the night of October 26, 2013, it wasn’t until the next day that police found BJ dead.

“It seemed he was out of his element somewhat. It was a cold night and he didn’t have a coat on. That was suspicious in and of itself,” says Smith.

A passerby spotted BJ’s body in between two houses in the 200 block of Boyer Street about five miles from his home.

“It was almost like he wasn’t supposed to be there,” says Smith. “And there was no record in our database that showed him having any association with people in that area either.”

With little evidence and few witnesses, investigators turned to people who knew BJ, trying to piece together who pulled the trigger. There is one key piece detectives are still looking for to help solve the case.

“He was wearing and would wear a ‘Go Daddy’ jacket, and he wore that often, and it was a cool night that he should’ve had a jacket on. But he did not,” says Dayton Police Detective Patty Tackett with the Cold Case Unit. “So one of the things that we’re looking for is what happened to BJ’s jacket?”

Detectives continue to ask those questions as well as others.

“Was there some relationship issues?” asks Tackett. “Did he have a problem with somebody that he had gone to school with? Somebody, maybe a girlfriend? That’s information we want to know.”

His family is convinced someone knows something.

“It’s just senseless,” says BJ’s uncle Donovan Lewis. “There’s a lot of cowards out there.”

“We know for a fact somebody knows something,” says BJ’s cousin, Makel Fields. “Dayton is way too small to have so many unsolved cases.”

For some family members, they say they will never have closure, but they would like to see justice.

“He meant a lot to a lot of people,” says Jackie. “And I don’t want his murder to go unsolved like he never even existed.”

“I want them to be found, but it’s not going to change what I lost,” admits Crystal.

If you have any information that could help bring BJ’s killer to justice, call Crime Stoppers at 222-7867.

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