CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Family members of Charlotte's first 2017 homicide victim, 22-year-old Natanael Jose Rodriguez, made a public plea for help in finding Rodriguez's killer.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say Rodriguez was shot and killed four months ago, on Jan. 2, at his apartment complex in the 6500 block of Monroe Road.
Officers responded to the assault call just after midnight and found Rodriguez suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. Medic took Rodriguez to Carolinas Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
"We have a mother, a sister, a girlfriend, father, grandmother that there is not a day that goes by that we don't feel the absence of him " Rodriguez's aunt, Damaris Valdez said.
"You never expect your child to go before you and the pain cannot be explained. It's something that runs deep in our blood to lose him to something so… in such a manner is hard," Valdez said.
She said her nephew, who was working for a moving company, was a "a beautiful soul that loved his family, was a guy that was always there for his mother, for his sister and his little brother."
Tuesday morning, heart-broken relatives begged for help - answers to who killed him. They say when he was murdered, his family was expecting him to come to a birthday party but he never showed up.
"And it never happened. And the next day – a day like today it was devastating," Valdez said. "Something that there are no words to explain and that's why we're asking please."
Police say Rodriguez was shot in his apartment at the M Station complex on Monroe Road.
Investigators say there weren't any surveillance cameras.
Despite knocking on doors, canvassing the area, putting information on social media - detectives said they haven't been able to get the critical information they need to crack the case. Which is why they stood with the family to ask for help.
"Anytime, anything you heard, saw, any whispers going on we'll take it and go with it from there," said Sgt Demarco Jeter.
Detectives are still investigating, and believe Rodriguez knew his shooter.
"We believe that the assailants were known to Nate. No signs of forced entry to this apartment," Sgt Jeter said at the conference.
Tuesday afternoon, relatives went door to door at the apartment complex to leave flyers.
"If you heard something, if you saw something, if someone has told you anything – please we're asking you to come forward and bring the information so we can have a resolution to this case," Rodriguez's aunt said. "It won't bring happiness but it will bring closure which is what we need to know that the person that did this have paid and is going to pay for whatever they did."
Valdez added "we know that any family member – any person that lose someone to a violent crime have to live with that for the rest of their life."
Police say there's a $5,000 reward from Crimestoppers for information leading to an arrest in this case.
Anyone with additional information in the case is asked to call homicide detectives at 704-432-TIPS.