This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class. The student credited above wrote this story as a class project.
Bobby Chattic loved to cook. He cooked professionally for two local Jacksonville restaurants and would take advantage of any opportunity he could find to cook for his friends and family at home.
Bobby loved his two jobs, working as a sous chef at River City Brewing Company and a cook at Golden Corral. It was difficult to take him out of the kitchen, it just loved it so much.
“Bobby would always cook for us,” his sister Amanda Chattic said. “He would make me second in my own kitchen,” she said with a laugh.
Bobby made a variety of things that everyone always enjoyed. “He would make spaghetti with homemade noodles and a sauce from scratch,” Amanda said. “My favorite was his bread pudding – he made the best bread pudding. I wish he would have left us the recipe.”
It was in his own kitchen that his life would be taken.
On December 12, 2009, Bobby Chattic was preparing himself a meal in his 500-square-foot apartment in the San Marco area of Jacksonville when there was a knock on the door. Neighbors said they heard a commotion coming from the apartment with Bobby yelling “who was it?” at the door. Bobby was then discovered lying on the tile floor of his apartment.
Amanda was living in Miami, where she and Bobby had grown up, when she got the call from a Jacksonville detective. They were informing her that officers were on their way to her house to deliver the news.
She demanded to know what happened to her brother, knowing the call was about him.
The detective let Amanda know that her brother Bobby had just been murdered.
Amanda loaded her car and made the trip to Jacksonville with some relatives. Their first stop was to the morgue to find him. Then they went to Bobby’s apartment.
Bobby had moved into the apartment just three months earlier in September. Amanda came to visit and to assist with the local utility company billing Bobby twice.
That was the last time Amanda would see her brother alive.
As Amanda and her family pulled up to the apartment, they could see Bobby’s Christmas tree from outside.
“It stuck with me,” she said.
“To see his Christmas tree, to see his Christmas lights still blinking.” There were presents underneath his tree.
Christmas was always a favorite time of year for Bobby and his family. He always made a big deal out of the holidays. Now, Christmas reminds Amanda about how fragile and precious life can be.
Bobby wasn’t the first death for the Chattic siblings.
Amanda grew up with four brothers – two were older and two were younger. Her oldest brother died in 2004. Bobby did all he could to assist in the burial process despite being in Jacksonville while the rest of the family was in Miami.
Now, five years later, Amanda once again is left to bury a brother.
“Bobby wasn’t violent,” Gale Williams, Bobby’s former fiance, said. “He was quiet and calm.”
Bobby and Gale had known each other for about a decade. They meet in the 1990s while working at Crawdaddy’s.
“He was a father to my kids, who weren’t even his,” Gale said. “Anything a man would do with his kids he would do – take them to wrestling matches, baseball and football games.”
Their relationship didn’t work out, but Bobby was always important to Gale.
“We broke up, but Bobby would always be my friend,” she said.
“Bobby always worked two jobs,” Gale said, “one for him and one for his kids – that’s what he always said.”
Throughout her time with the detective working on Bobby’s case, Amanda says that her experience was always positive.
“He always would say, ‘be patient, stay healthy, stay well,’ when we spoke,” she said. Amanda added that the detective always encouraged the family to stay positive, that he had compassion, and that she always appreciated that about him.
Bobby’s murderer has never been identified, and the toll on his loved ones has been immense.
His death and the frustrations of not finding his killer weren’t the only things weighing on their minds. News organizations wrote stories about Bobby around the time of his death, and Amanda read them.
Underneath the stories, however, commenters had taken to crafting their own theories on what happened to Bobby and why.
“It was terrible,” Amanda recalled.
“No one deserves what happened to Bobby, no matter who they are,” she said.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Bobby Chattic, please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
Research & Impact
A study conducted at the University of South Carolina indicates that about 15% of young adults are affected by homicide via losing a friend or family member.
The study consisted of a singular age group, ages 18 to 26. Utilizing the percentage of affected persons by the study and population numbers, that would mean nearly six million young adults are affected by homicide. Those affected could very likely correlate directly to those who have developed mental health issues like PTSD.
A person who has experienced trauma like this is twice as likely to develop mental health issues. This chance undoubtedly increases if the homicide goes unsolved. According to the FBI clearance rates, only about 60% of cases nationwide get solved. Using that number of 40% unsolved cases with the population of young adults affected by homicide, there would be roughly 2.2 million of them in which their loved one’s murder remains unsolved. Numbers as high as these are unacceptable as this sample just applies to a specific, younger demographic and is exponentially larger when compared to the entire population.
Millions of people are affected by homicide, and a significant portion of those people are affected by unsolved homicide, however, all of them are at risk of developing mental health issues as a result.
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