Dec. 10-Twelve years have passed and Carolyn Bates is still seeking closure in the death of her son Larry "L.J." Sanders Jr.
"Closure so that I know that the murder or murderers are the off the street," Bates said. "So they can't do this to another family."
As her son's homicide remains unsolved, Bates won't let the case be forgotten. She recently spoke about the case on The Fall Line podcast. The episode, titled "Murder of Larry 'L.J.' Sanders, Jr: A Long Memory Lane, Down Here" was released on Nov. 2.
The podcast talks about the stages of her son's case and how Bates is telling the world.
Around 5:25 a.m. July 10, 2010, police responded to an assault and battery and a home invasion, according to an incident report from Edgefield County Sheriff's Office.
Police searched the area around a mobile home in the 100 block of Eagle Road for an unknown suspect, the report said.
Police found Sanders, 28, dead on the floor in the bedroom. A woman, covered in his blood, was trying to give him CPR, the incident report said.
Bates said someone went into her son's home, kicked in the door and began shooting. Bates said the Edgefield County Police Department told her that some shots fired had hit her son in his upper chest.
"It is an awful position to be in when you don't know what happened to your son and you don't know who took his life," she said.
Sanders left behind a mother, a brother and two young children.
"I need closure and not just for myself, but for L.J.'s brother and L.J.'s daughters," Bates said.
A 2021 SLED audit of the Edgefield County Sheriff's Office evidence room found a refrigerator inside the evidence room that contained DNA and blood samples quit working, the audit report said.
All the evidence collected in Sanders's case was ruined and disposed of, according to the audit report.
Edgefield County Sheriff Jody Rowland said there have been no new leads in the case.
Rowland, who reopened the Sanders case, said his office reinterviewed witnesses and worked with SLED. He said getting people to talk about details of the case has been a challenge.
Rowland said the case remains unsolved.
"It has been 12 years since he was murdered, and no one has still come forward," Bates said.
Keeping L.J.'s memory alive
"It shows that this mother right here is not going to give up," Bates said.
Bates said the best way for her to cope with the loss of her son is by talking about it. .
Bates said her son would have turned 40 this year, and the good memories are what help her to get her through the tough days.
She remembers his humor, how he was beginning to turn his life around and was in school to become an underwater welder.
"I was just so proud of him for how he was turning his life around," she said. "It was so sad how his life was taken so suddenly at that point."
Bates said his two daughters are now 16 and would like to know what happened to their dad.
"I'm sure it crosses their mind about what happened to their dad, and they need to know that; they need the information so they will have closure," Bates said.
She hopes the podcast and any new coverage will inspire people to come forward with information on her son's death.
"If someone is able to listen to my story and is able to help somebody else, that would be wonderful," she said.