Murder. Anguish, Hope, and I Try to Survive


By Bob Comeans

Many years ago I knew a fine young man.

He was popular, had a great personality, and could play the piano so well he could make you cry. We would go to the movies, get a pizza, or just hang out. He was about my height, with blonde hair and brown eyes.

He had a wonderful sense of humor, and especially liked to tease with his parents. He was a great kid who dressed as Santa for the younger neighbor children at Christmas. He always had a big candy cane for the little boy next door.

Norman Rockwell would have loved to paint this family. This young man had loving parents, two brothers, and a sister. God was good to this family.

I was eight years older than him, but he was one of my best friends.

This normal, well-adjusted teenager entered high school, but he didn’t finish. He entered ninth grade, but he didn’t finish.

Four days before his 15th birthday this young man was abducted from his front yard.

My father, brother, and I found him within the hour. He was lying facedown in a ditch, his winter scarf tightly knotted around his throat. My brother cut the scarf from around his neck. My father and I did CPR until an ambulance arrived.

It was no use. This fine young man had been abducted from his own front yard, strangled to death, and left in a ditch. He had left this world surrounded by violence and a cold, dark, winter night.

This ideal family had been devastated by something truly evil coming into their lives,

Murder. No motive, no suspects, no arrests.

Where was the God who had so richly blessed this family?

I tasted vomit from that young man’s mouth, in my mouth, for two years after I did CPR on him. His parents kept his half-eaten bowl of ice cream in their freezer for three years. I looked at that bowl often.

In his loss I became an angry, lonely person. My emotional walls were impenetrable. I would have no relationships, no friends in my life for years. Family was all I cared about.

I would visit his grave often. I would fall to pieces. Through anguished, sobbing tears I would tell him that I was sorry, that I missed him, and that I hated whoever took him away.

Until their deaths, his parents lived in the same house, on the same quiet street, in the same quiet neighborhood where nothing ever happens.

I finally moved from that young man’s hometown to try and save my own life. I couldn’t outlast the anger, frustration, hate, and loss that I had felt for so long.

I restarted my life in Colorado. God went with me. I met a woman who would help change my life. Who would become my wife.

We came to Georgia. I felt as if I was leaving some hurt and pain behind with each new chapter in my life.

My life began to change. I now had a wife and two sons. A family that was dependent on me. A family that I had helped to create.

My prayers began to change. Gone were the prayers said in hate, vengenance, and anger. Prayers for a fine young man, who was taken in such a horrible way.

I was now offering prayers of thanks. Thanks for my wife, my two sons, my family, my life, my strength, my church. Prayers of forgiveness for that awful day so long ago.

I often wonder how this all happened and why. I think God knows why, God stayed with me whether I wanted him or not. He’s allowed me to grow through incredible loss. To grow first into a husband, and then a father. To grow through hate into forgiveness.

I now try to lead my life by following. Following God’s word, attending church, participating in a small group, and singing on a praise team.

I try to live my life to honor God and my family. My wife and two sons. I also do it to honor the memory of that fine young man I will never forget.

That young man’s parents celebrated 53 years of marriage before his mother was called home. Called home to receive her son, to receive her answers, to receive her place in eternity before her loving God.

That young man’s father suffered through two and a half lonely years, supported closely by his loving daughter, and family members, until he too rejoined his lovely bride and a long lost son.

I was honored to preside over each of his parent’s homecomings. To share of their love, for God, for each other, and for their son. To pray and give thanks for the lives that they led.

That fine young man’s remaining brothers and sister were all there. They recognize the presence of a caring, loving God in their lives.

By God’s mercy and grace, and by the death on a cross, a son was reborn and then reunited with his parents in heaven, while his family was reborn on earth.

It has been over 33 years now.

Murder. No motive. No suspects. No arrests.

When I finally open my eyes in heaven, when I begin my eternity, I hope my first sight, my first smell, my first embrace is of that fine young man. I don’t think God will mind. It’s been so long since two brothers were together. So long since I’ve been with that fine young man,

My youngest brother…William Joseph Comeans.

Click Link to Watch Bill Comeans YouTube Video


36 thoughts on “Murder. Anguish, Hope, and I Try to Survive


    Bob, Bill was wonderful just as you wrote. I knew him through choir and Robin Moore, i was in 10th grade. We share the same birthday.
    I wont linger here with a long spiritual journey. Just that it really is hard to start with forgiveness and then begin healing. That just goes against human natute and a human brain.
    Bless you,
    Sheila Ellars Stone

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Sheila, So nice to meet you. I wrote this story almost eight years ago. It’s nice to know someone who knew Bill. Every January 11 I will think of you on your birthday. If you would like to share your spiritual journey, feel free to send it to my email. I’d love to hear it. Bob

  2. Kacia Warren

    What a beautiful gift to write and share your experience. I am a classmate of Bill. We shared many laughs and his talent of piano as well achoir. We were in the Wizard of Oz in middle schools the memories of laughter, singing and he was sucha beautiful soul. Sadly missed and the mystery and heartbreak with such a cold case

    Hope, Prayers and Justice for a beloved man whois among Angels for a higher purpose. Never forgotten. Love and miss you Bill.
    Best Wishes.

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Hi Kacia, Thank you for sharing your history with Bill. I have his piano and my son plays it beautifully. I’m glad you shared pleasant times together. God Bless. Bob

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Thanks Patty. It’s been a blessing to get to know my “American Woman,” and I so appreciate your words. Bob

  3. Melody Lynn Bentley Jenkins

    I remember all of horror of those days…I was 2 years younger than Bill and lived on Buena Vista, near the tracks where he was found. I am so glad that God chased you all these years through your anguish and pain, and one day when you are reunited with your brother, you will have all the answers you cannot know now…blessings 🙂

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      I’m so sorry you had to experience all that. When I see Bill again, I won’t care what the questions ever were, anymore. Thank you for sharing. I’m learning we were all in this together. Bob

  4. Shari Judd

    I remember when this happened. I lived there. I did not know your family, but I prayed for all of you. Made me sick. Our God is good. I still pray for a resolution.
    I grew up there, graduated from PV, what a great area it was to be raised in. Sadly, all that began to change around the time your brother was murdered.

    Shari Judd

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Thank you for your prayers. I believe that is the only way any of us ever survive a tragic event like that. I’m sorry that you had to experience it with us. God Bless You and thank you for your words. Bob

  5. gpcox

    You’ve honored William very well here. We all take death so differently and your loss was so personal, it was only natural to be angry. I’m glad for you and your bright family that now you can go on.

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Thank you sir. Moving on never means we forget. I know youve probably experienced that as well. Bob

  6. Othia Dean Wagner

    I don’t know you or your family but when I read your story my heart broke for all of you. I grew up in columbus and went to Central High . As tears rolled down my face I offered up prayers of thanksgiving that you are now on GODS side. He alone can give you the kind of strength to survive this tragedy and sing HIS praises. I agree that when you see your brother, nothing else will matter. May God continue to watch over your family and keep you safe.

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Your words speaks truths and an offering of blessings. Thank you so much for that. Central holds a special place in my heart. It was my mother’s alma mater.

  7. Elayne

    I also knew Bill. I was in choir and theatre and we would hang together, Bill, Mike Rothgeb, and I while we weren’t needed on the stage for our part. I don’t think Bill was scared at school, if I remember correctly.
    I read your story, with pain. It is a beautiful tribute to Bill. It has always made me so sad that the world lost such a kind hearted, loving soul as Bill. It has troubled me for years. He and I spoke of his incredible love he had for all of you in your household. He so looked up to his two brothers, he told me that. He didn’t want to disappoint any of you. He loved his parents deeply and adored his little sister. All words he spoke. I hope it is a comfort to know that he loved you all so much.
    I pray this can be solved for you all one day soon. May God grant you all that peace soon. Elayne

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Thank you for sharing your memories of my brother. It brings him a little closer to me. I’m glad you were able to spend time with him and get to know who he was. I so often feel like I missed out on the side of him you know so well. Sometimes you feel like you deal with it all alone. Your words tell me I am not alone with my feelings of him. Thank you.

  8. Beth Cunningham

    Bill, I am so sorry for your loss. I know it has been so long ago, but I know it must still hurt not knowing who done this and why! I went through the same thing when I was younger. Although my brother was not murdered, he died in a house fire when he was 8 and I was 9 back in May of 1993. I may be 30 now, but it still hurts. He was my only sibling because my mother couldn’t have any more kids. I also lost my dad in May of 1998, when I was 14, due to congestive heart failure! God bless you and your family. I am praying you find out who your brothers killer is and they spend time behind bars or whatever is neccessary!

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Thank you for sharing. I too am sorry for the loss of your brother. When we lose a brother or sister we lose a best friend. They never really go away do they? That’s family, that’s good. Bob

  9. ✿ Jill #prolife (@Cajun_Fury)

    There is no one closer to us than our siblings-we share far more than DNA. My heart aches for your loss and I pray your brother receives justice. Bill is blessed to have a brother and sister who love him so well-that’s the mark of a life well lived, though far too short.

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Brothers and sisters can be our best friends. They cover your back and pick you up when you fall down. I wish that goodness for anyone!

  10. liz

    Hope your answers come soon, good to see it in the news, Hope it stirs someone to get it off their chest!! today was the first I have ever heard of your brother- What a terrible thing for anyone to have to go thru. ❤ from Pa!!!

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      We are patient people in spite or ourselves. It’s wonderful to see that people can care for a fellow man.

  11. Jen

    Reading your story and seeing the photos really touched me and I’m so sorry for what your family has gone through. I pray that the long awaited answers (and justice!) come to your family soon.

    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to spend with us. Prayers are a wonderful thing and I thank you for yours!

      1. Tulessa

        Bob, we would love for you to join us in the thread I posted above. We could really use your input to help us help you. 🙂 WS has solved many many cold cases over the years. You already have a lot of respect and support at WS. We truly care, and want to help you solve this. 🙂

  12. Ed

    Bob, I lived on Lennox in that little quiet neighborhood, I played ball with Mike and remember Bill hanging around….we all were a tight knit bunch in those days….I have prayed for your family through the years and still pray that somehow justice is done, but I see how God has used you and your family to touch so many others, for if you can still love God after such a senseless act, then we can to. Thank you for writing this and sharing your heart…I still continue to pray and miss those carefree days in New Rome that all seemed to change that winter night, for so many of us! Bless you!


    1. bobcomeans Post author

      Thank Ed! Corner of Lennox and Kanard if I remember correctly? Thanks for those prayers. I was just sitting her thinking about how powerful prayer can be, no matter how bad the situation. Those baseball days were alot of fun.

      1. Ed

        Yep on the corner!…. I think we knew every kid in the neighborhood…..Prairie Boys baseball…and riding our Huffies over in the summer and playing pick up baseball games…great times….I remember Mike grew about 4 inches ahead of us and dominated for a few years with his fastball!….Prayer is powerful, and God knows what happened, I pray that whoever did it comes to know Jesus, but I also know God has His own standard of vengeance, ….Be Well Bob

      2. bobcomeans Post author

        Thanks for reminding me of those good memories. You said it well. I appreciate that. You know I have to forgive, because I’m a sinner too. Now, let’s go to Toney’s Coneys

  13. Barry Skaggs

    Hi Bob. So glad to read that in the midst of your family’s angst, you found our Lord and Savior. Brings tears to my eyes. I will share this with my wife, Nancy. She leafs a ministry at our church called Celebrate Recovery that teaches Christ-centered approaches to all addictions and issues of grief. She also is a State of Ohio leader for Celebrate Recovery.

    I’ve read all the articles and watched videos explaining Bill’s story and pass along any notifications I encounter. I truly pray the person who did this is caught and off the street before he does this again.

    God Bless you all

  14. Kathy Baker

    This was a wonderful tribute to your brother Bill. I worked for a short time with your dad at Sears. He was a kind man. I also worked with your aunt Zell , she’s a friend of mine. We visited your dad together a month before he passed I gave him a haircut. He would always do his John Wayne character for me. I am so glad that you have Our Lord to lean on. You’ll see all your family again in Heaven. And what glorious day that will be. I believe that knowing this helps me to cope with these tragic things. God Bless you and your family. Kathy Baker


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