PHOENIX — The family of a murdered Arizona Rattlers football player is remembering his life and asking why the case to bring his killer to justice has stalled.
Defensive tackle Lance McDowdell, 25, was gunned down on December 20, 2019. The early morning murder occurred outside his apartment near 44th Street and Thomas in Phoenix.
McDowdell's family spoke to him by phone just hours before he was killed.
"We were talking about how 2020 was gonna be exciting; we’re gonna do so many things," said Tyia Patrick, McDowdell's mom.
His family held a vigil for McDowdell Sunday in New York to mark one year since his death.
"He was always the life of the party," said Patrick. "I’m trying to get myself together because he wouldn’t want me to be at the state that I’m at and grieving the way that I’m grieving."
A month after McDowdell was shot, Phoenix police announced the arrest of Christopher Ayers, 29, in connection with the murder.
"The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has asked for some further information regarding those charges, so our detectives are trying to satisfy that request," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Andy Williams.
This has stalled the case, although Phoenix police say Ayers is still a suspect.
"I understand it’s frustrating," Williams said. "This case has been gone over a year, but it is still open."
McDowdell's mom and siblings hope someone sees their pain and is emboldened to finally tell all to the police.
"My brother did not deserve what happened to him, and anybody who had a part in doing this to my brother needs to pay for what they did," said Asia Atterberry.
Phoenix police encourage anyone with information on the murder of Lance McDowdell to call the non-emergency line at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.