Teen boy Tony Drumwright was exhumed from the Carroll Memorial Gardens in McKenzie, Tennessee, in 2014, in an attempt for detectives to reportedly solve the case and figure out who killed him. Almost 20 years his death, however, his case remains unsolved.
Tony, 15 at the time, was found in the back yard of his Carroll County home in 1999, with a bullet wound to the back of his head. A .38-caliber handgun was found by his feet. Initially, authorities thought the boy committed suicide and in turned, the crime scene was reportedly compromised when it was cleaned up immediately.
Becky Drumwright, Tony’s mother, thought that foul play was involved, as Tony had no issues that led her to believe he was suicidal. Her thoughts were confirmed after an autopsy determined the boy did not kill himself. Further, someone shot Tony at a distance of around three feet, which would have been impossible for him to accomplish himself.
The only reason Drumwright could think of as to why someone would kill her son was if he happened to see something he shouldn’t have while out riding his four-wheel ATV. People who lived nearby allegedly ran a methamphetamine lab from their home. Did Tony see illegal activities that prompted someone to kill him to keep him quiet?
Drumwright told CrimeOnline that Tony loved computer games and had aspirations of becoming a computer programmer one day. His friends spent the night with him each Friday night. She said he was genuinely happy and kind person.
Regardless, the case sat stagnant for more than a decade, until a newly-elected district attorney, Matt Stowe, of the 24th Judicial District, indicated in 2014 that he felt there was enough evidence to reopen the case and figure out who killed the boy.
Prior to the exhumation, a frustrated Drumwright said she begged and pleaded with authorities for years to talk to witnesses who claimed to have seen people on the Drumwright property the day Tony died.
“Let me tell you this. There were witnesses who saw who were on our property that day,” Drumwright told Grace. “The TBI investigation of that is just incredible. They have never even questioned those witnesses. I don’t think there is a proper investigation. That’s the first thing they should have done.
Fast forward three years later and authorities still haven’t made any arrests.
Tennessee special projects reporter at FOX 17, Dennis Ferrier, who covered the case heavily from day one, told Nancy Grace that “there’s nothing like a bad start to case” and suggested that the evidence that could have solved the case was destroyed early on, which in turn, is why the case may never be solved. Grace said that despite shoddy investigative work, new forensics technological advances can allow a way to still bring the shooter to justice.
Ferrier: “Even if you have suspects, where is the evidence? Where’s the corroboration? The exhumation was not successful for obvious reasons, fifteen years. I think we’ve definitely got suspects, we might even know who did it. But proving it beyond a reasonable doubt is probably out of the question or we’d already have an arrest.
Grace: “I don’t know that anything is out of the question, especially in light of new DNA techniques. Specifically, the murder weapon, the .38-caliber weapon was found on the scene. Very few perpetrators think to wear gloves to load the bullets into a gun. Very often, fingerprints or partial prints can be found on those bullets. Not only that, when you touch DNA…..there are so many alternatives.”
Anyone with any information regarding Tony’s death is urged to contact the tip line a 731-986-5031.
[Feature Photo: Tony Drumwright/Handout]