Family of beloved Indy youth football coach searches for answers into his unsolved murder


INDIANAPOLIS – The family of a beloved youth football coach is searching for help solving his murder.

Juan Mitchell was shot to death exactly six months ago this week.

On a Friday night in early October, police were called to North Park avenue and found the 41-year-old murdered in the street outside his home.

“I wake up every night thinking about it,” said the victim’s father Orlander Mitchell.  “They shot him and then they ran over him.  That’s the sad part.”

Orlander Mitchell’s youngest son Juan died on the scene, where a small weather battered memorial still stands. 

Six months later police have still never been able to explain a motive for the murder and no one has ever been arrested.

“Nobody knows anything.  Police have no leads or no direction.  You hear things on the street, but as far as anything substantial, we haven’t heard anything,” said Orlander.

Family provided photo of Juan Mitchell.

Juan was known affectionately as Coach Smitty, because for years he mentored kids as a coach with the Next Level Youth Sports League.

“I talked to him every day and that’s all he talked about was the games and the kids and just being with them.  He was a father figure to a lot of those little young guys,” said Orlander.

Members of that league held a vigil and balloon release last year, but no one was ever held accountable for the death.

Coach Smitty’s father just wishes people would help his family find some justice.

“It would mean a lot.  Juan deserves that. He shouldn’t have gone out the way he went out and we hope for some closure,” said Orlander.

Again, no arrests have been made in the case.   Anyone with information is still asked to contact Crime Stopper at 317-262-TIPS.

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