BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - After years of unanswered questions, Bryan Smith's murder remains unsolved. May 8 marks 21 years since his body was found.
Downtown Wilmington was the last place Bryan was seen in 1994. He had gone out to see a band and was never heard from again.
"There's no such thing as closure. I hate that word," Lou Smith, Bryan's mother, said. "All I want to know is who did this to my son and caused my family to suffer for 21 years."
Bryan's body was found floating in Town Creek on May 8, 1994, his throat slit.
That year, Mother's Day fell on the very day that would change Lou Smith's life forever.
"It's hard in the beginning," Lou said. "You don't want to be a mother anymore. Mother's Day for the first five years, I said don't even send me a card, don't acknowledge it. I'm not a complete mother anymore."
She stayed strong for her other two kids though. Since then, she's been left with unanswered questions about the people who killed Bryan.
"You never know, you may pass them on the street and never know they are the ones that did this to your loved one," Lou said.
She has a message for Bryan's killers.
"I don't hate the people because I would be no better than them," Lou said. "They need to come forward, look at your own children or grandchildren, and put yourself in my shoes."
She continues her fight to help other families feeling this same kind of pain.
"I could say to the people out there that want to give up and not go one that you need to go on for the love of your child," Lou said. "That's what they would have wanted you to do."
The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office says a group of volunteers, along with a retired homicide detective, work on cases like Bryan's, bringing in fresh eyes for a fresh perspective on the evidence.