Indy’s Unsolved: Family continues to search for answers more than 4 years after north side murder

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4 Fast Facts:

  • Timothy Hathaway was killed the night before Thanksgiving in 2011
  • Found shot to death in apparent robbery
  • Case unsolved for more than four years
  • Call Crimestoppers at 262-TIPS with any information

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 23, 2016)--  Timothy Hathaway had a criminal record, and even his family admits he was likely up to no good the night before Thanksgiving in 2011 hours before his body was found in an empty lot in the 2900 block of Central Avenue, shot to death in an apparent robbery.

But Hathaway’s history and intentions still didn’t make his murder right.

“I just think he got caught up in something. What, I don’t know,” said Valentina Watkins, Hathaway’s mother. “I don’t know if it was something he may have done and, regardless of the fact whether he did or whether he didn’t, it wasn’t no reason for someone to shoot him in his back because he was running, so he was scared of something or somebody threatened him or something because he was running and they shot him in the back.”

More than four years later, IMPD Homicide detectives are still searching for answers to the murder of Timothy Hathaway and so is “Indy’s Unsolved.”

“We knew he had been there for several hours. Later on in the investigation we found some witnesses who had been with Timothy Hathaway the evening before,” said IMPD Detective Robert Flack. “He and Timothy and another individual, who I have not been able to actually ID or positively locate as of yet, were together the evening before and they were basically planning on doing a ‘lick,’ which is street slang for robbery. They were trying to find somebody who had a gun and this individual advised me that they were not able to find anybody to get a weapon from.”

Flack said the men had been cruising the area of East 31st and New Jersey Streets when Hathaway’s partner called off the robbery plan.

“He was done trying to get that situation done and stated Timothy still wanted to pursue their interests and he said he dropped him off.

“According to my witness, Timothy Hathaway was still trying to find someone with a weapon to do a robbery.”

Presumably Hathaway never found that friend with a gun but instead ran up against someone else with a firearm who also had robbery on his or her mind.

“Possibly someone had gone through his pockets,” said Flack who first arrived on the scene by nine o’clock Thanksgiving morning. “His pants were pulled down and were found down below the buttocks and it was apparent at that time that someone had tried to rob the individual and he was deceased at the scene.”

Hathaway’s family found out about his death while watching the news.

Valetina Watkins got CBS4’s attention with a pair of emails last fall at the time of the anniversary of her son’s murder.

“I want to know why is it that some killings get TV coverage, and others are thrown in the back and never mentioned,” wrote Watkins. “It seems that you pick and choose who you want to cover, and what you want to cover. I don’t feel that it’s fair, that some should take precedent over another death.

“Favortism seems to be a factor when it comes to the media.”

The persistence of Hathaway’s family in drawing attention to his unsolved killing is matched by its cooperation with detectives.

“His mother and other family members have been very helpful along with the whole investigation,” said Det. Flack who depends on friends and acquaintances to point him in the right direction. “They know our, for lack of a better term, victims better than we do. Obviously they know who they may run with who they may associate with, that thing.”

“I started hearing stuff from the beginning,” said Brian Franklin, Hathaway’s brother. “I’m hearing this, I’m hearing this, I’m hearing this, I’m hearing this, and I’m telling Detective Flack, ‘This is what I heard.’”

Thirty percent of all murders go unsolved in Indianapolis due to a lack of cooperation from those who know the victim or the insidious nature of street robberies and fatal drug deals in the dark that leave clues and suspects hard to come by.

“He was a good-hearted person,” said Watkins. “He just got caught up in stuff but he was getting it together and whoever did this to him just snuffed it right out.”

“He has done stuff in his past,” admitted Franklin, “but he was a loving type dude. He would give you the shirt off his back if you was cold.

“First of all, anybody that does random killings is insane anyway. They’re crazy anyway. But my brother didn’t have no money like that.

“Its going on five years and we haven’t heard nothing. Its like the streets ain’t talking, the news ain’t talking, ain’t nobody putting their foot down in the ghetto where it happened at.

“The streets are talking but they only talk so much.”

Neighbors reported hearing a couple gunshots late at night on November 23, 2011, in the vicinity of 29th and Central.

The next morning IMPD officers found Timothy Hathaway’s body in a vacant lot.

If you know anything about a murder four years ago the night before Thanksgiving on the north side of Indianapolis, call Crimestoppers at 262-TIPS. Your information could be worth a $1000 reward, clear a case from Indy’s Unsolved file and bring closure to a family that was looking to spend its first holiday all together with a troubled man trying to return to the fold.

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