June 7, 2021 | By Kaitlyne Piper
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.
Cameron “Tyler” Hendrix of Jacksonville never took advantage of people. He wanted to give back to the people in his life.
“He had little IOUs on a scrap of paper in his wallet,” his mother Crystal Hall said. “It made me proud because it was down to even a dollar or two.”
Many of Tyler’s IOUs were left unfulfilled.
His body was found July 12, 2016, not far from his home on the westside of Jacksonville, Florida.
He was 25 years old and had been shot to death. His murder has never been solved.
When Tyler was young, he gained nicknames like Strawberry and Curious George. Strawberry being given by his mother because of his auburn-colored hair. Curious George was a family nickname because his swollen cheeks would often resemble the cartoon monkey – he would take medication to reduce the swelling.
Growing up in Jacksonville, Tyler and his siblings would often walk to school.
“The most dangerous thing was walking across the road,” his sister Rachel Hendrix said.
As he got older, Tyler quickly learned that the world could be an unforgiving place.
He suffered a gunshot wound that would leave the left side of his body paralyzed. However, Tyler was nothing but strong when it came to putting his life back on track. With the help of the Brooks Rehabilitation Center, he worked hard at physical therapy and gained back partial movement.
After his rehab, Tyler’s biggest accomplishment was obtaining a job with a construction company. His family could barely contain their excitement for him when he would come home and never stop talking about work. Tyler was happy to be making his own money and his family was proud of who he was becoming.
“He would be blistered red from holding a sign for a construction company and did not complain,” Rachel recalled.
On July 12, 2016, Tyler was out riding his bicycle with some of the neighborhood kids. The others made it home safely, but Tyler did not.
Tyler was later found on Beaver Street near the Paradise Village mobile home by a passerby who noticed multiple gunshot wounds. His bicycle was next to him.
He was less than a mile from his home.
Onlookers tried to save him but couldn’t. The passerby told Crystal that they believed Tyler’s heart stopped so quickly that he did not feel any pain.
“We were robbed of who my brother was going to be,” Rachel said
The Hendrix family has never been the same after Tyler’s murder. A mother lost her son. Siblings lost a brother.
Remembering someone after they’re gone is not always easy.
Some families celebrate their loved one’s birthday, favorite holiday, or the anniversary of their passing. But Tyler’s family celebrates his life by doing things he would have liked. Whether it be driving to the beach or attending church, they do it in Tyler’s memory.
On Tyler’s birthday, his mother said she strives to have a good, peaceful day.
“He was always the person that always wanted to make your day a little better,” Crystal said, and that is how she will always remember him.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Cameron Tyler Hendrix, 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 and Impact
Survivors are often encouraged to reach back out to the agency and detectives investigating their loved one’s unsolved case. It’s not uncommon for survivors to report back with frustration for any number of reasons. One such example is learning that the case file cannot be identified or located. At Project: Cold Case, we understand the logistics of keeping large physical files accessible, well-sorted, and the difficulties of digitizing such files.
For some agencies, the cold case paper files may not have been input into the internal database due to the size of the agency and the number of cases left to be solved. When a family member calls the agency, it’s much easier to quickly search on the computer for the case and updates than it is to find time to dig through the vault, find the case file (they can often fill multiple boxes), and report back in a timely manner. Digitizing case files is something that agencies should prioritize today.
These struggles are exactly why Project: Cold Case recommends that families routinely check in with the agency and their assigned detective to ensure that their loved one’s name is regularly brought up in the office and better likelihood that the files will be reviewed.
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