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Mother digs for evidence after son killed, burned in field on Detroit's west side

Roberto Ayala fatally shot in October 2018

DETROIT – A Detroit mother said her pain won't go away until she has answers in her son's murder case.

Roberto Ayala was shot multiple times Oct. 30, 2018, on Poplar Street on Detroit's west side, and his body was set on fire, officials said. In the months since, his mother has been working to gather new evidence police might have missed.

"We got him some flowers," mother Lolita Henry said.

Henry and her daughter, Joceline Ayala, went to the spot where Roberto Ayala was shot in the middle of a field on Poplar Street.

A wooden cross now marks the spot where he was shot and killed.

"This is where he was at," Henry said. "I need to keep him alive the best way I can."

She said she wants answers in her son's death.

"Originally on our case, we had an awesome detective," Henry said. "I remember the day she told me she was getting transferred, I cried, because I knew that this is it."

Henry said she's had trouble getting in contact with the new detective on the case.

"Just giving me the runaround, but I'm not going anywhere," Henry said.

She decided to do some of her own investigating.

"I used to break down daily, and now I'm strong," Henry said. "I have to be strong."

She's knocked on doors in the neighborhood, talked to potential witnesses and collected evidence she found at the crime scene.

"Clothing, pieces of the tarp, metal rings from the tarp that they rolled him up and burned him in," Henry said.

"I just wish that we would get the justice that we need for him," Joceline Ayala said.

Henry said she won't stop fighting until she gets justice for her son. She wants to work with police to solve the case.

"This is the last thing I need to do for my son," Henry said.


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