Unsolved Lee County homicides remain an open wound for victims’ families

FORT MYERS, Fla. It’s a somber routine Camelia Schley has done every April 28 for the last 11 years – releasing balloons at her son’s grave.

Her son, Angelo Gary, and her nephew, Marcus Battles, were shot and killed while celebrating Gary’s birthday at his grandmother’s Michigan Link apartment.

“He turned around and he looked at me and he was like, last words was, ‘mom, if I don’t come home tonight, you promise me you wont be mad,’” Schley said.

The shooter took off on foot and has been on the run since.

Schley said detectives never knocked on her door.

“You want to know, do they care, you know,” she said. “Do they care? Or is just, he just another black young boy? We don’t have to deal with him, you know, but he’s still my son, still my child.”

Gary’s killing is more than a decade old, but it underscores a current fact in Fort Myers – the majority of the city’s homicides remain unsolved.

Only 24 of the city’s 74 murders within the past five years were solved.

Countywide, 26 of the 95 killings investigated by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office within the past five years remain unsolved.

Kyle Byrtus’ death is one of the county’s unsolved killings.

“They say it was raining so very much when his body was found that there really isn’t much evidence,” said his mother, Lynne Kreger.

Byrtus’ body was found in a Lehigh Acres field in 2013.

The 25-year-old died from a single gunshot.

“We’re still here, and we are not going anywhere because we are going to fight for our children,” Kreger said. “We are going to be our children’s voice.”