YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Jaquaila Dothard knows someone has information about the murder of her child’s father, Austin Mendenhall.
And they had that information just moments after the 38-year-old Mendenhall was killed around 7:15 p.m. Aug. 30 in a yard on the 300 block of Ferndale Avenue.
Jaquaila said she was at football practice with the 9-year-old son she shares with Austin at Borts Field when several cell phones started going off.
At first, she said, people were talking but when it got around that Austin’s son was on the field, people began to get quiet.
“People were just shouting it all over the place, then they got quiet,” she said.
Police have still not made an arrest in the case. Jaquaila said her son is taking news of Austin’s death “really, really hard.”
When police and paramedics were called, Austin was found lying in the front yard. Reports said the scene was “chaotic” with a crowd of what police described as “hundreds” of people descending on the crime scene.
Police have not released a motive. Jaquaila said Austin was on the street to visit a friend when he was killed.
Jaquaila and Austin’s first cousin, Tiffany Williams, both said someone has to know something because so many people were there. Jaquaila said one of the reasons she thinks people know what happened is because of videos of the crime scene that are circulating on social media.
Both women urged anyone with information to call police.
“There’s people in the community who actually know,” Jaquaila siad. “Somebody knows something.”
Both women said Austin was devoted to his six children and his family overall. They noted he was providing care for his grandmother when he was killed.
“He was a great person,” Jaquaila said. “His main concern was his kids and his grandmother. He would give you the shirt off his back.”
“He was all about family,” Tiffany added. “He was a loving and devoted father.
“He always said you’ve got to love life. He would say, ‘I can’t change who I was back in the day and what I did but I can make it better now.”
Tiffany said her cousin loved football and was a big Dallas Cowboys fan and that he also loved to fish.
Jaqualia said Austin was a devoted Muslim and always made it a point to never miss Friday prayers. He was given a Muslim funeral, she said.
Chief of Detectives Capt. Jason Simon said investigators do have some leads they are following but they need help from the community.
“We’ve actually had a fair amount of cooperation on this case, but we still need people to come forward,” Simon said.
Simon said lately, detectives have been getting cooperation from the public in several recent homicide investigations.
Anyone with information can call detectives at 330-742-8911 or CrimeStoppers Youngstown at 330-746-CLUE.