MACON, Georgia (WMGT/41NBC) - 19-year-old Latoya Berrian was beaten and set on fire in December of 1997. Despite the tiring efforts of Macon Police, no suspect has been identified in the murder case. For the Berrian family every passing year reopens the wounds of the tragedy.
"She shouldn't be out here in this grave; she should be at home with her family," said Tangelyn Berrian, Latoya's mother.
This December will be 15 years since Tangelyn lost her daughter. Despite the passing years she still struggles with thoughts that the killer could be free.
"Please contact the Macon Police Department, or Captain Gibson, or Captain Barbee. Let somebody know something," said Berrian.
Latoya was beaten and set on fire on December 2nd 1997 here off of Carling Avenue.
The night Latoya died she was last seen at Wendy's on Eisenhower Parkway getting into a green car with an unknown man. Family members believe Latoya's killer had inside access to her whereabouts.
"We feel that whoever did this to her, is somebody that is close to the family and knew her," said Latoya's niece, Linda Wells.
Detective Jimmy Barbee has worked the case since 2006 and says Latoya's beaten body was actually found by a criminal.
"By a man who was actually going to break into the back part of a plumbing company that was on Holt Avenue and steal gas out of their cars, but he saw Latoya's body on the pile of trash, beaten, put on this trash pile and set on fire," said Lt. Barbee.
Former Macon Police Captain Henry Gibson was on the scene the night Berrian was found and says the burn smells led to her discovery.
"They smelled what they thought was human flesh and they went to investigate and that's when they found her body," said Gibson.
Detective Barbee says the evidence is exhausted and unless new information comes out, the case will remain cold.
The family celebrates what would have been Latoya's 34th Birthday at her grave site in Woodland Cemetery. Another birthday passed, with a mother pleading for answers.
"I don't know how much I can go on like this here, that's all I need somebody help. I can't do this," said Tangelyn Berrian.
Latoya went to Central High School and family members say she hoped to incorporate her love for dance into her career.
If you have any information about this crime please call Crimestoppers at 1-877-68-Crime.