ROCK HILL — Last Mother’s Day, Patricia Boulware’s son didn’t make her breakfast in bed. He didn’t give her a bouquet of flowers or a card. He didn’t make her dinner.
He hasn’t in two years.
He’s dead, killed by an unknown attacker who shot him as he cut through a path from Taylor Street, off Crawford Road, to Adams Grocery on South Wilson Street in Rock Hill two years ago.
“I miss my son... point blank,” Boulware said on a recent sunny afternoon, sitting in her living room, just a half-mile from where her son was slain. Just off her shift as a manager at a Rock Hill Burger King, she sat in her uniform – a gray and orange collared shirt. She’ll wear it again on Sunday – Mother’s Day – when, like last year, she’ll work.
When she leaves for the day, she’ll head to the cemetery at New Hope United Methodist Church, near Hollis Lakes Road, and sit by a headstone engraved with Jamar Ferguson’s name. She’ll “talk to him for a while.” Then, she’ll go home and eat dinner. Like she does every night, she’ll pray for answers.
“I just want it to come to an end one day,” said Boulware, who for two years has waited for news of an arrest or charge that might bring closure. “The people who killed my son are walking the street.”
“As long as it’s been, it still is not real,” said Sandra Gist Miller, Boulware’s sister and Ferguson’s aunt. “It’s like a bad dream. I just hate this for (Boulware). It’s bad when you see somebody that you care a lot about... you see they’re hurting, and there’s nothing you can do.
“Somebody can do something about it,” she said. “Somebody knows.”
Jamar Ferguson died at Piedmont Medical Center early April 21, 2012, of multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said. He was the city’s third homicide victim that year. His death is listed among the city’s unsolved slayings.
Two weeks after Ferguson died, police arrested a man they accused in the slaying. They charged him with murder. A month later, he was released from jail after his attorney proved police did not have enough evidence or probable cause to file the charge in the first place. In an interview with The Herald after his release from prison, he said police used one person’s comments to incriminate him.
The charges were dropped and that man is free today. There haven’t been any arrests or many details released about the investigation since.
Police have said that a “code of silence” in some Rock Hill neighborhoods has stifled some investigations, homicides in particular.
There’s no silence for Ferguson’s mother. Since his death, several people have approached Boulware with rumors and speculation, telling her they know who killed him. They say there was a fight, possibly over a woman. They say Ferguson “beat down” two men who later found and shot him.
“I really hate when people go to her with that; it gets her hopes up,” Gist Miller said. “She’ll be excited that maybe something is going through. They keep giving her a reason to think, ‘Oh, it’s coming to an end.’ ”
Gist Miller wishes people who have information would tell authorities.
Boulware said she learned the lead detective on Ferguson’s slaying has been moved to a different division in the department. Two detectives and a sergeant comprise the Rock Hill Police Department’s newly-formed cold case unit, tasked with reviewing old case files and, in some cases, relaunching investigations, said Rock Hill Police Executive Officer Mark Bollinger.
Police have revisited Ferguson’s case within the past six months, he said. Police spent two days re-interviewing witnesses and possible suspects. They canvassed the shooting scene and the surrounding neighborhoods. They even searched the pond at Glencairn Garden after receiving information that a possible suspect tossed the murder weapon into the water. They didn’t find a gun, Bollinger said, and the “homicide investigative day” did not yield any new leads.
Bollinger said police considered several persons of interest in Ferguson’s slaying, but none of those people have been charged or arrested. No new suspects, he said, have been identified. Police have put information about Ferguson’s death back on Crimestoppers, hoping the lure of a reward will help uncover information.
Gist Miller is certain several people know who gunned down her nephew.
“I just really hope one day they see it fit to come forward and get this thing solved,” she said. “Unless that happens... (Patricia) will not ever be the same.”
Boulware hasn’t been the same since news of her son’s shooting reached her. Gist Miller said her sister hasn’t looked the same since she viewed her firstborn’s body.
The day Ferguson was killed, Boulware and Gist Miller were planning to leave for a cruise they planned together and paid for in full. Ferguson joked that he didn’t think his mother should leave him behind. She promised they would vacation together in 2013. He walked off his mother’s porch and made his way to Adam’s Grocery. Then, gunfire.
“We still haven’t taken that cruise,” Gist Miller said.
Three Mother’s Days have now passed since Boulware lost her son.
“Holidays are worst,” Gist Miller said, “because Jamar was always so lively and so fun and he would always really make the holidays. He was so much a part of everything.”
The last Mother’s Day Boulware spent with Ferguson was in 2011. She worked that day, too, but Ferguson had dinner ready on the table when she got home.
Gist Miller hopes her sister working on Sunday “will keep her mind occupied.”
“If she was at home,” she said, “she’d cry all day... cry all day long.”
“My heart hurts every day,” Boulware said. “It feels like some days I’m going to have a heart attack. Most of the time, I’m shut up in my room.”
On Sunday, she won’t be locked inside her room. She’ll be managing employees at Burger King.
“I’ve got to maintain,” she said. “I’ve got to pay my bills. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”
Jonathan McFadden • 803-329-4082