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2 years later, murder of 14-year-old outside Indy Popeyes remains unsolved

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis mother is begging for help to catch the person who killed her teenage son two years ago.

In late January 2017, 14-year-old Anthony Hughes Jr. was shot to death outside a Popeyes restaurant on 16th Street, yet no one has ever been arrested for the shooting.

14-year-old Anthony Hughes Jr.

"It’s hard. It's difficult. I miss my son every day," said Anthony’s mother, Shaherah Smith-Hughes.

Anthony, known by his family as Bug, died after being shot in the chest.

A small memorial marking the death still remains, as does the pain of not knowing who pulled the trigger.

"Every day it hits me," said Smith-Hughes. "You don’t know. You wake up wondering every morning."

That frustration is shared by a half dozen Indianapolis families.

Following the murder of Anthony Hughes, 17-year-old Montel Ligon was killed in early 2017, as was 15-year-old Sema J Jordan, 17-year-old Angel Mejia-Alfaro, 15-year-old Abdul Cross, 13-year-old Matthew McGee and 15-year-old Kevin Rainey.

So far, no one has been held accountable for any of those seven deaths.

Young murder victims of 2017

"My thoughts and prayers go out to those families. I know their feeling. I’m in their shoes. It’s difficult," said Smith-Hughes.

According to numbers by IMPD, 2017 was an especially bad year for youth homicides with 14 victims 17 years of age and younger. Half of those cases remain unsolved.

Those numbers are double what the city saw in 2018 when there were seven homicides of teens 17 and under, with three unsolved cases. 2016 also saw identical numbers as 2018.

Police have speculated a gun sale, turned into a robbery during which a fight broke out and Hughes was killed. Whatever the cause, Anthony’s mother says she prays every day for justice.

"I mean it won’t bring my son back, but we need closure," said Smith- Hughes.

Anyone with information on any unsolved homicide is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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