YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Lillie Rodgers has a complicated life.
Her brother, Martin Walker, III, 32, was shot and killed in March of 2005 as he stood in front of a market on Shehy Street.
Her longtime boyfriend of 17 years, George Arroyo, 40, witnessed that shooting. He was killed early July 13, 2006, in the back of a 1523 Himrod Ave. home.
Someone served a 13-year-prison sentence for her brother’s death. But Arroyo’s case is still unsolved.
Police at the time, however, believed the two cases were connected and still do, said former Youngstown Detective Sgt. Pat Kelly, who worked the case and is now the Campbell police chief.
In fact beside Arroyo, two other witnesses to Walker’s death were also killed; Ollie Shuler, 29, was killed March 17, 2005; and Simone Haskins, 20, was found shot and killed Oct. 31, 2005, along with her boyfriend Edgar J. Davis, 22, inside a home on Valley Street that has since been torn down.
None of those homicides have been solved.
Charles Lynch, 42, served a 13-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter in the death of Walker.
Arroyo was found about 1:15 a.m. dead from a shotgun blast at the back door of his home. Kelly said he believes Arroyo knew whoever killed him because there was no sign that someone tried to force their way inside the home.
“He opened the door and they just blasted him,” Kelly said.
A witness who was in the house at the time but upstairs when Arroyo was shot said they heard two gunshots but stayed in their room with the door locked until police arrived.
Rodgers, who was with Arroyo for 17 years, said she was at a nearby home when someone told her the news that Arroyo was dead.
A friend told her “‘somebody just killed George,’ and my whole world was just turned upside down,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said Arroyo knew he was a marked man but he made no effort to hide.
“He said, ‘They got a hit out on me, but I’ll tell you what, if they kill me, they’ll have to kill me at my back door,'” Rodgers said. “He knew they were his enemies.”
Kelly said investigators figured right away Arroyo’s death was linked to Walker’s, but they could never make the connection. And because of that, the case went cold fast, Kelly said.
“We could never tie anybody into it,” Kelly said. “We really had no leads.”
Rodgers said Arroyo was a man who liked to have fun and cared about his family.
“He was like a big kid,” Rodgers said. “We miss him. We still miss him.”
Anyone with information on the case can call the Detective Bureau at 330-742-8911.
WKBN covered Arroyo’s murder in 2006. Watch the video above from our archives.
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.