'My life changed that day': Michael Baxley's unsolved murder in 2017 still haunts his son Justin
MACON, GEORGIA: A man has been looking for justice for the murder of his father, who was gunned down in a robbery in his own home in west Bibb County, five years ago. On November 6, 2017, the life of Justin Baxley, who works on the television station 13WMAZ, was turned upside down when he heard the tragic news of his father Michael's death out of the blue.
"I'll never forget hearing those words that, 'Your dad has been murdered.' My life changed that day. It will never be the same," Baxley said, according to 11Alive. At the time, Coroner Leon Jones described the scene as, "It's a gruesome crime scene, OK? Gruesome," to Baxley and said that his father's life was taken away from him. Sgt Coleman Lewis with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case. Michael's side door was forced open at the time of the incident, Lewis said.
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"We did locate two shell casings, we did locate evidence that robbery was the motive," Lewis said, leaving the Baxter family to pick up the pieces. Baxley described his father as a kind person. "In a lot of ways, he was a refuge, I think, for some that were struggling with whatever they may have going on in their lives. He would put his own needs aside to take care of them," Baxley reportedly said, adding, "I know if the tables were turned and it was me and he was still here, there wouldn't be anybody on this Earth that could hide from him. He loved me too much."
"This case in particular, though, Mr. Baxley's case, it is very, very solvable. They're looking for that missing puzzle piece," Lewis said. "If you have information on this case, even if you think it's the smallest detail, it may be the thing that breaks the case wide open," Baxley said.
"I do want closure for the family. I want them to be able to have their day in court and face the people or person, or people accused of committing this crime," Lewis said. Baxley had a message for his father's killer. "Don't continue to take more and more from me, because it's a constant drain, a constant heartbreak that I have to relive every single day. Stop and really think about what it would be like with their loved one that they left lying there to die," he said. He has no plans of giving up his fight anytime soon.
Baxley said that he drew strength from 'New Year's Day' by Taylor Swift. The lyrics, "Hold onto the memories, they will hold onto you," have become like a motto over the last five years. He said that he still cherishes the memories that he created with his father and the suspect(s) who killed his father would never be able to take that away from him. The memories help get him through the most difficult times in his journey to get justice for his father. Lewis is offering a $2,500 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.
If you have any information, you can call the Bibb County Sheriff's Office or Macon Regional Crimestoppers at (478) 742-2330.