It’s been 27 months since the tragedy occurred and a Baton Rouge mother is still searching for answers to exactly what happened on March 20, 2020, when she saw her son take his final breaths in their backyard.
“It wasn’t really investigated like I thought it should’ve been,” said Terrelyn Matthews, mother of then 17-yr-old Christian Dunbar who was shot and killed at their home. “It was during the time when everything was shut down because of Covid. We didn’t get a family meeting (with the police). They didn’t come and sit with me to ask me what I knew. They said they interviewed people in the neighborhood, but I spoke with some of them in the neighborhood and they said that didn’t happen.”
The shooting happened on a night when Matthews’ daughter and Dunbar’s older sister was home. Matthews said she recalled hearing multiple gunshots, but her daughter thought they were firecrackers. She decided to go to the backyard because she said her son liked to walk out into the back.
“When I opened the door, I could see my son laying on the ground with blood by his head,” Matthews said. “I went into the house to tell his sister to call 911 and when I came back outside, Christian had crawled all the way up nearly to the door. I saw him take two big breaths and then he put his head down and that was it. He was dead.”
Matthews said the police put her in a squad car as officers searched her home and worked the crime scene.
“I was telling them ‘I know who killed my son. I know who killed my son’,” she said. “I don’t know how many bullets hit my son or what kind of bullet hit my son. I don’t know anything.”
She said she had a very good idea of who killed her son. She said Dunbar had gotten into a few confrontations with a group of boys from a different neighborhood. The confidence Matthews had in who she said killed her son was bolstered by conversations with some in her neighborhood.
“I was told there were two people in the backyard with Christian,” Matthews said. “The sounds I heard, it sounded like only one gun. I grew up in Mayfair. Those boys are from Mayfair. The police didn’t pick up those boys until a month later. That gave them time to hide any evidence.”
After those suspects were released, there was nothing on the investigation front for quite some time according to the mother. But 10 months after her son was killed, Matthews said she thought she had some hope on the case.
“Around Jan. 2021, One of my son’s friends called and said the day that Christian was killed, they were on Instagram Live and he had an argument with these boys,” she recalled. “One of the boys said ‘my friends are on Bless (street).’ We live on Bless and my son told them to pull up. He wasn’t expecting what happened. He was expecting to fight. That friend gave the boys’ names to the police.”
“I called the detective and told him what Christian’s friend said,” she continued. “He asked if Christian’s friend would call him and give him the information. His friend just asked the detective not to use his name. I got their names, their street names, and their addresses and I gave them that and nothing happened. It breaks my heart to know these kids are still walking around and they feel like they’ve gotten away with it.”
Matthews said her son was a jokester who wanted to have things his way at certain times.
“He was always joking,” she said. “He didn’t take anything seriously. As he got older, he started to be rebellious. He always wanted to have his own way.”
Baton Rouge Police is the agency handling Dunbar’s case. Matthews said the detective on the casa told her the case is still open and would remain open.
“I wish they would put some new eyes on it (the case),” she said. “Look at everything again. I just want someone to look at my son’s case to see if they missed anything.”
Despite not having justice for her son’s killer, Matthews said she has found a bit of solace in a group of women who share similar stories of tragedy.
“Since my son has passed, I created a group on Facebook called MOMS, Mothers of Murdered Sons,” she said. “There are over 500 moms from different states sharing stories of their sons being murdered. We’re keeping each other encouraged. It’s really been helpful.”
Anyone with information on Christian Dunbar’s murder should contact Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP to remain anonymous.