INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been three years since the murder of a teenage boy inside his own home on Indy’s near south side, but for his family it’s a nightmare they’re stuck in every day.
“He was an uncle, a brother, a friend; someone who’s just very missed today,” said Jessica Monday. “I always tell people, I don’t mean to be so sad, but it’s just the reality of it.”
On the night of June 25, 2019, someone fired shots into Monday’s home on South Talbott Street, killing her 15-year-old son Michael Walters. Family said Michael was inside his bedroom playing video games with a friend when bullets came flying through the window, hitting him in the head.
“We’re still very much in the denial stage. It’s just hard to accept him not here no more,” Monday said.
He died the next day, but not before his family said he gave the gift of life through organ donation, saving at least seven lives.
“Mikey was our hero in life, so it was only fitting he was a hero in death as well,” Monday said.
Monday said they’ve been able to connect with several recipients of his organs and someday she hopes to know how the person who received his heart is doing.
“He enjoyed music. That was his goal in life. He was just focused on that his last year,” said Monday.
Monday said her son had overcome obstacles and his own personal challenges and was finally on the right track until someone took the opportunity to continue down that path away from him.
“He fought through everything he went through and just came out good on the other side. For his story to end the way it did is just tragic,” Monday said.
One chapter of the story he hoped to write was his high school graduation from Emmerich Manual High School. It would have happened for Michael three weeks ago, but instead, his mother accepted his diploma in his honor. She said the moment was bittersweet.
“I’m very thankful they reached out,” said Monday. “Picturing us walking instead of him, he’s just missed so much in life.”
“My walk compared to him was a different feeling,” said Michael’s sister, Jessika Quinn. “My mom got to watch me walk across; she didn’t get to watch her son. She had to walk for him. It shouldn’t be that way.”
To keep her son’s memory alive, Monday said she wears a locket with his ashes, has a portrait of him tattooed on her, and often wears a shirt with his photo on it.
“There’s always another story to turn the page to distract you from the last thing you’ve seen. I don’t want Mikey forgotten,” said Monday.
She said she wears Michael close to her heart, to remind her that they will never lose hope in finding his killer.
“We try to do a balloon release every year. It’s unfortunate his birthday is shortly after. His birthday is July 30th,” said Monday.
This year, Michael would have turned 19, but to his family, he’ll forever be 15.
“Each day we’re still waiting,” said Monday.
They’re pleading with anyone involved or anyone who has information, to come forward, and help give their family the chance to begin healing.
“Knowing that someone knows out there and not saying, does make it worse, because I know someone knows. It would mean the world. Just a small bit of information,” said Monday.
While investigators said they believed the shooting to be targeted in 2019, no motive has ever been publicly released and no arrests have been announced. Monday said she knows someone holds the piece of information that could be the difference in changing that.
“They can’t tell me it’s not weighing on them. I know there was a group outside, you know. One of the few has to feel something,” she said through tears.
“Would you want your mother or your siblings feeling the way a lot of families do here in Indianapolis? A lot of us and it’s just not okay. We just need people to come forward. It helps,” Monday added. “If you know anything, please say something. If your kids know anything, please say something.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS (8477).
You can also reach out directly to IMPD’s Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or by emailing the detective assigned to the case, Detective Larry Craciunoiu at Larry.Craciunoiu@indy.gov.