Unsolved Murders: Frustration grows, pain lingers for family
By Robyn Claridy
Nov. 14, 2010 at 12:45 a.m.
At first, she thought they were sleeping. When Fanny Andrews opened the door to the upstairs garage apartment looking for her son that morning in late June, she could not believe what she was seeing. "Something wasn't right."
First in an occasional series
At first, she thought they were sleeping.
When Fanny Andrews opened the door to the upstairs garage apartment looking for her son that morning in late June, she could not believe what she was seeing.
"When I first walked up there, I thought they were just asleep because they had been partying or something, but something wasn't right," she recalled.
Even before she went inside, Andrews knew something was wrong. Neither her son nor the woman he was found with lived in the apartment.
"I went outside because it was too much," she said, "and that's when my friend found gunshot wounds on both of their heads."
That was 9 a.m. June 24. And though nearly five months have passed, Andrews said neither she nor investigators know much more today about who killed her son Zocorius Lamonte Gray, 19, and Laura Beth Sullivan, 28, than they did that morning.
Investigators call such long-open and still unsolved murders "cold cases," and East Texas law enforcement has a long list of them.
In addition to the slayings of Gray and Sullivan, investigators in the past few months also have been stymied by the cases of a woman whose body was found wrapped in a blanket and dumped along a road near the Sabine River, and a South Longview man who was found dead of chest trauma in his home.
Knowing she's not the only one with questions about what happened to a loved one, though, is little comfort to Andrews.
"I'm scared. Most nights I just lay awake in my bed until daylight so that I can get a few hours of sleep. When I close my eyes, I can still see them the way I found them," she said through tears. "You just have no idea what it's like to find your son dead and not know who did it or why."
As Andrews climbed the stairs to the apartment in the 100 block of Myrle Avenue where the bodies were found, she and the person who brought her to the residence feared something was wrong. When she entered, she found Sullivan near the door. Gray was a few feet away. Both had been killed by gunshot wounds to their heads.
Andrews said she didn't know why they were in the Myrle apartment.
At the scene, neighbors told reporters they thought they heard gunshots about 5 a.m. the day the bodies were found, followed by the sound of a vehicle speeding away. Authorities found a license plate near the driveway that was taken in as evidence, but Andrews said investigators since determined it was irrelevant to the case.
Police spokesman Kevin Brownlee said investigators were continuing to follow leads and the investigation was ongoing, but declined to discuss the leads or how the investigation is being conducted.
Andrews says she's frustrated by the the lack of information.
"Right now, the only people who know who killed (Gray and Sullivan) are the ones that pulled the trigger, but I know someone had to have seen something," Andrews said. "There are always people walking around outside. I just want answers, I want to know who did this, and investigators aren't telling us anything."
She said she knows her son was no angel, and his death could be related to the fact he was running with the wrong crowd. But she knows little of his associations.
"My son always kept his street life separate from his family life, because he knew I didn't condone what he was doing," his mother said of her son's run-ins with law enforcement over drugs. "But it doesn't matter what he was doing, that doesn't justify his death. That was my baby, so what if they did something wrong? If it was your baby, you wouldn't want them to be killed either."
If Gray were still alive, he'd be turning 20 in a few weeks, and his second child will be born in January. Those children add to his mother's worries.
<strong>'Deserves to know'</strong>
"One day my grandbabies are going to ask me what happened to their daddy, and I don't want to have to tell them we don't know," Andrews said. "Our family deserves to know so we can move on and heal. Zocorius is not just another person dead."
Not much is known about Sullivan, but Andrews said she was a friend of her son's and had two children.
In a July interview, House of Hope spokeswoman Shay Caffey said Sullivan was a resident at the women's shelter and had moved to another shelter before going out on her own.
Other recent unsolved murders include the cases of:
Sygunda Williams, whose blanket-wrapped body was found July 20 by a fisherman near the Sabine River. Authorities said she was killed by head trauma.
Lloyd Johnson, whose body was found Aug. 16 in his home in the 1400 block of Booker Street. Authorities said he died of chest trauma, a victim of foul play.
Less-recent cases that remain unsolved include the disappearance of 17-year-old Kelly Wilson, who was last seen Jan. 5, 1992, at the video store where she worked in Gilmer.
Anyone with information about the crimes are asked to contact Gregg County Crime Stoppers at (903) 236-7867 or online at www.greggcountycrimestoppers.com.