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Murder mystery in Detroit takes surprising turn

DETROIT – Carlos Buffin was a loving family man and a dedicated employee at the Detroit Medical Center.

"My uncle Carlos was funny, he was the life of the party. Anybody who came to any event was like, 'Where's Carlos?' That's the kind of guy that he was," said Dyamond Moore, Buffin's niece.

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On April 15, 2013, Buffin's body was found in the trunk of his car. It was parked in a lot near Biltmore Street and Thatcher Avenue in Detroit.

His family spent the next year not only grieving, but also searching for answers. They shared their story on Local 4, pleading for someone to come forward with clues. Crime Stoppers also offered up a reward in the case. But few tips surfaced and the family started going door to door to get information.

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They learned Buffin had attended a party the night he was killed and had driven one of his neighbors to that party.

"We couldn't find any information. We couldn't piece it together. But we got this guy's name and we were like, 'you guys need to question him,'" Moore said. "Why is he not being questioned if he was with him the night that it happened?"

Weeks passed with no new developments. But then a chance encounter with Detroit Police Chief James Craig at a restaurant changed everything.

"I said, 'I know, Lord, this is not the chief and you just brought him in here randomly like this,' Moore said. "Then, ironically, he sat right next to me. Out of all of the chairs that he could have sat in, he sat right next to me."

The family shared their frustrations with Craig. He not only listened, but took immediate action.

"He made calls right in front of me. He made them right in front of me and the next day they were calling us telling us they were going to investigate and things like that," Moore said.

The family met with investigators and shared the information they had learned on their own - and finally the call came: An arrest had been made.

Shauncey Alan Hicks was charged with Buffin's murder. Hicks was the neighbor Buffin drove to the party the night of his death and investigators said they think Hicks became upset when Buffin left without him. Hicks allegedly killed Buffin in retaliation.

"It was hard, but we were finally happy that they got someone, instead of someone just being out here and not having any kind of remorse of what they did," Moore said.

The next step for the family is another emotional one -- a trial. It's expected to get underway in November.

"I just want to say thank you to James Craig because he's really doing his job," Moore said.

Click here to help the family purchase a headstone for Buffin.