SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Takisha Irby stopped on River Road near the scene for the first time where her nephew, 17-year-old Derrick Nichols, was found dead. Hunters found the body in the woods. It was late November of 2016.
“It hurt," said Irby. She can only imagine what her loved one’s final moments on Earth were like. “Like riding down the road put a funny feeling in me," she admitted.
At the time, family members told WSFA 12 News Nichols had been shot eight times, five of those shots were to his head. They believe he was killed at another location and brought to the wooded area, but no one knows why.
“It’s been hard," Irby said of the stress, the waiting.
The irony surrounding Nichols' murder is that he moved to Birmingham to get away from a bad crowd in Selma. He had plans to go back to school and get a job. But one weekend changed it all, the very weekend he decided to visit his mom. What happened next while he was in town remains a mystery.
“He came back to visit her and he wasn’t here even a week,” Irby recalled.
Five months ago, Gov. Kay Ivey posted a $5,000 reward for any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction in Nichols’ death. So far, nothing has developed. Selma investigators say they’ve run into a roadblock. No one will talk, no witnesses willing to come forward, no arrest, no known motive.
Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier says he’s already reached out to a federal agency for assistance in the investigation.
“He called me and he was like, ‘I love you’ and I said ‘I love you, too,’ and that was our last conversation," Irby added.
Nichols would’ve turned 19 this month. Instead of celebrating another birthday, his family is left wondering how much longer they’ll have to live without closure.