YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Raquel Magallon has never gotten over the 2006 murder of her son.
Almost 15 years after the Oct. 14, 2006, shooting death of Jason McInnis, 28, on South Avenue in Youngstown, Magallon still has trouble talking about her feelings.
“I’ll never get over it,” she told a reporter over the phone recently.
She worked in construction, was working on one of the bridges over the Meander Reservoir, in fact, when Jason was killed, but the grief was too much and she couldn’t concentrate. She retired in 2010.
She has talked to others who are in what she calls “the club no one wants to join,” or other mothers whose children have been murdered.
Recently, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office added her son’s case to the section of its website devoted to cold cases.
Magallon does talk to police often, however, about her son’s death, prodding several sets of detectives about any progress on her son’s case.
The original lead detective on the case, Darryl Martin, retired as a Detective Sergeant and is now an investigator with the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office. He said a lack of witnesses and physical evidence at the crime scene hampered the investigation from the start.
“We looked at everything we could,” Martin said.
Reports said McInnis was found shot to death about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 14, 2006, in the parking lot of 3317 South Ave., the former Isaly Busy Bee which has been vacant since a fire a few years ago.
Police found a small caliber shell casing near the body but not much else.
Raquel said her son was out with a friend and in the friend’s truck at the red light at East Lucius and South avenues, across from the Busy Bee, when he decided to get out and have a few drinks at a nearby bar.
McInnis often went out on South Avenue and walked because it was so close to his grandmother’s house on East Midlothian Boulevard, where he lived because the two were so close.
Raquel said she warned her son about walking in the area late at night because it was dangerous. In 2006, the city saw 32 homicides, the middle year of a three-year spike that saw Youngstown record over 30 homicides annually. In 2007, Youngstown had 39 homicides. That is the last year the city has had over 30 homicides.
For the millennium, South Avenue has more homicides than any other street in Youngstown, with 20.
Raquel came to Youngstown from New York when she was 5 and lived on the South Side, graduating from Wilson High School as her son did later.
Jason was tall, at 6’3, yet Raquel said he had a gentle side to him growing up. She said she remembers his smile and dimples, especially from his youth.
“Growing up, he was such a sweet little boy,” Raquel said. “He had a lot of feelings. He was very kind with animals and old people.”
Jason, who was Mexican-American, was especially close to his late grandmother and Raquel’s mom, Celia Rosa, who taught him how to cook. Jason’s speciality was Mexican food, Raquel said, and he made his own tortillas and salsa, among other items.
“He was very proud of his heritage,” Raquel said. “My son was an excellent cook.”
Her son was a machinist and working construction at the time he was killed, Raquel said. Jason loved NASCAR, was close to his nieces and nephews and liked to read as well, Raquel said.
The morning her son was killed, Raquel was in bed and a friend from Pennsylvania was staying over because of a trip they were taking the next day. She said a coroner’s investigator woke her up and told her Jason was dead.
At first, groggy from sleep, she couldn’t comprehend what the investigator was saying. When she finally did, she said she was glad someone was there with her.
“Had I been by myself, I probably would’ve smashed into a pole of something,” Raquel said.
Jason left behind a daughter who lives locally and is attending college, Raquel said. In fact, the daughter looks a lot like her son, Raquel said.
“She looks a lot like him. She’s tall like him. She looks almost identical.
“Jason would be so proud.”
Anyone with information on the case can call the police department’s Detective Bureau at 330-742-8911; the department’s tip line at 330-742-8YPD; or they can leave a tip at the attorney general’s website on the section for cold cases.
This story is part of a series of cold cases that WKBN is examining.
Do you have a cold case that you’d like us to look into further? Submit a cold case to WKBN.