Victim’s family seeks memorial in unsolved hit-run death

Loved ones need help with permanent marker for Carl Howard, beloved father, partner

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As the months tick by since the still-unsolved hit-and-run death of Carl Howard, his loved ones are hoping to memorialize the man whose death gouged a devastating wound in their lives.
 
Howard, 54, was riding his bicycle when he was struck and killed by a driver in a dark pickup truck near the intersection of South Bannock Street and West Radcliff Avenue in Englewood last June 23. No arrests have been made in the case.
 
 
Nearly nine months later, his killer remains a mystery, but Howard’s absence continues to eat away at his loved ones.
 
“I’m completely lost,” said Lisa Paris, Howard’s partner for most of the last decade, through tears. “I don’t know what to do with myself half the time. I try not to sleep my life away. Carl wouldn’t want that.”
 
The strangest thing, Paris said, is the notes she keeps finding around the house — love notes Howard wrote her years ago. One was behind a picture frame. Another old Christmas card appeared on the kitchen floor. One was in her daughter’s box of art supplies.
 
In one letter, Howard wrote how he wanted to provide a happy, safe household for Dalylah, Paris’ older daughter.
 
“He wrote, ‘That’s what she needs and deserves,’” Paris said.
Paris writes him back, with notes she sets on fire, hoping the smoke will carry her love to him in Heaven.
 
“I tell him I’m sorry I took for granted everything he did for me,” she said. “I tell him how much I wish I could spend one more day with him. What I wouldn’t give for just a few hours.”
 
Howard’s sister “just wakes up and cries and cries,” Paris said.
Just three blocks from Paris’ house, at the spot where Carl died, sits a small memorial, where cards, flowers and pinwheels are growing faded by time and weather.
 
Paris’ aunt is working with Englewood officials to install a permanent street sign at the spot, imploring drivers to slow down in Howard’s memory.
 
Meanwhile, Howard’s son Shayne is seeking donations for a permanent grave marker for his father at Olinger Hampden Cemetery.
 
 
“It’s an extension of the permanent mark he left on my own heart and in those who he loved, and I can finally be at peace with that,” Shayne wrote on the GoFundMe page. As of March 19, the fundraiser had only netted less than a tenth of its $3,500 goal.
 
Securing the memorial sign and headstone would lend a permanence to a situation otherwise clouded by the uncertainty of Howard’s unsolved death, Paris said.
 
The pain of justice undone is not new to her. Her aunt, Connie Paris, was abducted and murdered in downtown Englewood in 1968. As the decades have gone by without an arrest in the case, Howard said the pain and grief curdled in her family, as it has in Howard’s death.
 
“It never goes away,” she said. “It’s always with you. You go around town wondering who it is. Is it the guy in front of you in line at 7-Eleven?”
 
Paris said she hopes whoever killed Howard finds the strength and conscience to come forward, or that someone who knows something will say something.
 
“I wonder if it’s eating away at them,” she said. “I wonder if they think they got away with it. I wonder if they’re cold-hearted enough to not care.”
 
Police still have little to go on, said Englewood Police Investigator Scot Allen. Detectives only received five or so tips in the case, and followed up on each one, all dead ends. Police are still investigating, Allen said.
 
Howard’s death was one of two still-unsolved homicides in Englewood last year. Joe Hix, 32, died of multiple stab wounds on the Little Dry Creek bike path on Aug. 25. No arrests have been made in the case.
 
“I don’t even know if putting whoever killed Carl in jail is the right thing,” Paris said. “What do you do in this situation? They took Carl away from us, but putting them in jail just takes them from their family. But we need closure so Carl can rest in peace.”

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