The family of a North Carolina–based truck driver found hanged inside his vehicle earlier this month are calling for further investigation into the strange circumstances surrounding the young man’s death.
Authorities say 21-year-old Taemon Blair died by suicide, but his relatives insist he was murdered and suspect foul play.
“We just want him to get justice. That’s all we want,” Blair’s older brother, Dee Smith, told Charlotte’s FOX 46. “We just want to find out exactly if somebody did it who did it and why, and we want to open it back up to see.”
Blair, a Charlotte native, was discovered dead on March 14 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, inside the trailer of the 18-wheeler he’d been driving. A report from the Allen County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy determined that Blair had died from asphyxiation by hanging, ruling his death a suicide.
“As is the case with all death investigations, we have a very thorough and comprehensive investigative process,” a Fort Wayne Police Department spokesman said in a statement. “I’m confident had we have found signs of a suspicious death and the Allen County Coroner corroborated those findings it would ‘not’ have been ruled a suicide.”
“We feel for the family and their loss,” it continued.
Despite authorities’ claims that no foul play was involved, Blair’s relatives believe he was murdered and say their loved one had no reason to take his own life. Blair’s older brother wrote on the GoFundMe page raising funds for the young man’s funeral that Taemon was on the track of “becoming a great man” and doubled down on his belief that his brother’s death wasn’t a suicide.
“He was 6’5, I thought to myself, how could he hang himself inside of a truck when he’s so tall,” Smith wrote. “This is sooooo devastating for our family. So unexpected! Our ‘Duke’ is gone!!!! If this wasn’t a suicide, I really hope that the police will find who killed [Blair].”
Smith went onto detail his brother’s story of triumph, writing, “Taemon went through a rough patch in his life. He went to jail for a year. When he got out, he promised to change his life. He went and got his diploma. He had straight A’s in HS. He has always been on the A honor roll. My brother finally got his life on track! He has a beautiful girlfriend. He also was having a baby. He landed a job driving 18 wheeler trucks.”
So far, the family has raised $8,255 of its $10,000 goal.
In a recent interview with FOX 46, Blair’s mother, Taesha Hunt, said a detective called her saying foul play was possible in her son’s death. The detective also told her that there was damage to the inside of her son’s truck.
“He said ‘I looked in the front seat and I see the radio kicked, the dashboard kicked in, like somebody just beat it up,’” she said.
Family and friends laid the young father-to-be to rest during a memorial Wednesday.
Watch more in the video below.