Closing a Cold Case: Police Solve the Murder of Joseph Thomas Jr.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The phone call that Joseph Thomas Sr. had been waiting for since August 2003 finally came this March.

After more than seven years, police had finally solved his son’s murder.

Joseph Thomas Jr.—Joe Joe, to his family—had been shot at close range on the night of Aug. 23, 2003 while hanging out with Louis Brown, a friend who was also killed.

Both men were 19.

From the beginning, detectives handling the homicide had few leads. They ruled out every suspect they investigated. Very quickly, the case went dead.

Still, Joseph Sr. refused to give up hope that police would find Joe Joe’s killer. Mildred Thomas, Joe Joe’s mother, was also persistent, calling the department to inquire about the murder several times each year before she died in 2009.

This January, The Buffalo Story Project published a feature on the parents’ plight. The story also appeared on the cover of Artvoice, Buffalo’s newsweekly.

Soon after the Artvoice article came out, Joseph Sr. said, tipsters came forward with new information that enabled investigators to pinpoint the killer, who has since died.

Buffalo police spokesman Michael DeGeorge did not respond to a request for details on the suspect and motive.

But Joseph Sr. says cold case detectives are confident that they have the right man. In the video above, the father tells us, in his own words, how it feels to finally know—to finally have closure.

Did you like this? Share it:

6 Comments Closing a Cold Case: Police Solve the Murder of Joseph Thomas Jr.

  1. Patty McClain

    How wonderful that your story prompted the solving of this case and some peace for the victim’s father! Good job!

  2. Rich Krawczyk

    I glad that this father was able to finally know who killed his son since it was troubling his thoughts. It’s also a pleasant conceit to think that your story contributed to an outcome that brings some measure of closure to a sad sad story!

  3. Nikerra Scaife

    I am soooo late. But i am delighted that the killer was found. Back when it 1st happened everyone speculated that a girl set them up && two guys came in and attacked them. But i guess we will never know the real story. I was devestated when brittney (louis’s sister) told me what happened. I had spoken to jojo face to face hours before it happened. Not knowing that it would be our last conversation. He was trying to change himself for the better. I believe he even told me he would stop smoking. So a beautiful friend taken away from all of us! I still think about them everyday. I write R.I.Paradise Louis && JoJo anywhr that i can. I think I can speak for everybody between koons && bissell when i say we love you guys sooooo much. One day we shall meet again. P.S. We still celebrate ya’lls life at whats left of Emerson park. Ya’ll will forever be apart of us. && Jo i still want my peach faygo :)

    Lil Sis!

    1. Brandi Honeycutt

      Beautiful section. && Beautiful words from NIKERRA witch is so true ! We will never forget you two ! YOU GUYS MAY BE GONE IN FLESH BUT NOT IN SPIRIT !!

  4. Claudette Miller

    I remember Joe Joe when he was just a baby, running behind his mother Mildred always staying close by her. Joe Joe had eyes like his daddy, Joe Sr., both could have been twins standing side by side. When I heard about Joe Joe’s death, it grieved my heart to know of how a wonderful young man had been killed in such a cruel way and in the prime of his youth. I stumbled upon this article today, happy in knowing that a father’s heart can be at rest now about his son, which brings tears of joy to my eyes. RIP Joe Joe you are still truly missed!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *