Murder victim’s sister heals through basketball

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- In the days after her brother’s murder a year ago, TraNae’ Mann felt every eye in the hallways of Warren Central High School was on her.

“I felt threatened because I felt like people knew that I was his sister,” she said. “They knew that I would do anything I could for him, to get justice for him, so people nowadays do what they have to do, so if doing what they had to do was taking my life, they would, too.”

According to TraNae’s family, the names of 19-year-old Trevon Mann’s former Warren Central classmates have figured prominently in his killing.

The suspects’ relatives still attended class alongside Trevon’s little sister, who was a freshman the year her brother died.

“Because my brother had been murdered and everybody there knew about the story and they knew everything that happened and some people who was relatives of his murderers were still there-- so I just wanted to get away from everything so I moved schools.”

Last fall, TraNae’ moved to Indianapolis’ west side and began attending George Washington High School, where she has maintained honor roll status in the classroom and starred on the basketball court playing for the Continentals.

“She’s averaging 22 points this year, nine rebounds and four steals,” said Coach Damon Lee.  “She’s doing this against double and triple teams some nights. She’s already had three 30-point games this year as a sophomore so its just phenomenal that she’s taken all the negative energy and you can see it in her on the court, you can see she’s playing with her heart.”

Trevon was missing for nearly a week when his brutalized body was found frozen and shot to death inside an abandoned townhouse in the 4000 block of Stratford Court.

Cathy Mann’s investigation into her son’s death, even before the discovery of his body, has linked several known associates from the east side and led to the seizure of a gun from a potential suspect after a police chase that included shots fired in the days after Trevon’s killing.

While Cathy has struggled with stress and health problems following Trevon’s murder, her daughter coped with the trauma of the death of her, “best friend.”

“It was like hard because that was the worst thing that ever happened to me and I gotta go reface it everyday and I wasn’t strong enough for that at the time," she said.

Lee learned of the Mann family’s struggles through CBS4's investigation into the unsolved killing. When TraNae’ reached out and transferred schools, Lee recalled coaching her cousin and reached back with a basketball in his hand.

“My family been through the same thing and it's hard and it's something that you will never forget,” said the coach. “What she’s going through, it makes adults cry, like we cry and a lot of adults aren’t strong enough to go through what she went through, and the season she’s having and the academic year she’s having, it just speaks volumes about her maturity.”

TraNae’ said she realizes she needs to remain strong for her family as well as herself and the memory of her slain brother.

“Sometimes I feel a presence and I know it's him. It just makes me feel contained or safe and I feel him watching me so it gives me some kind of peace sometimes,” she said.

Lee said he intends to show off TraNae’s skills during a college coaches’ basketball showcase soon in Lebanon.

The Mann family will hold a memorial service for Trevon, marking the one-year anniversary of the discovery of his body, Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church at 5640 East 38th Street.

IMPD investigators are fairly certain they know who was involved in Mann’s murder but they’re looking for a witness with the courage to come forward and confirm that information.

Such a tip to Crimestoppers at (317) 262-TIPS could be worth a $1,000 reward.

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