Human remains identified; family speaks out
Judy Hixson fights back tears the day after she learned her brother, Ernest Hair, 46, is dead. She clutches his picture close to her heart.
"I love my brother," says Hixson. "Now I know, I know where he's at, at least I know where he's at."
Creek clean-up volunteers found his remains in early October.
"The gut feeling, the knife went in my stomach. I knew it was my brother, I don't know how I knew but I knew. Something told me it was Ernie," Hixson explains.
Judy recalls her last conversation with him on the phone. It was June, 15. "He said, 'I'll call you back after awhile sis.' I said ok, I love you Ernie. He said I love you too and I never heard from him again," she says.
Judy says the past couple of years was hard for Ernest. He turned to alcohol after his mother passed in 2002, just a few months later his wife filed for divorce. He lost everything.
"Ernie lost his home, he lost his new truck, job at Bi lo," says Hixson.
This last year was the hardest.
"Rest in peace Ernie, you don't have to suffer no more," Hixson says looking at his picture.
However, now she's faced with a daunting task. "I'm worried about how I'm going to bury him. I don't know what to do," says Hixson.
She can't afford the $3,000 to lay him to rest beside her family. "I ain't got $25 in the bank, isn't that sad," says Hixson.
However, she does have the crumpled money found in Ernest's pocket. She picked up his belongings at the coroner's office Tuesday.
Her challenges are far from over but now she can try to find peace. "I'm gonna lay you to rest soon I hope. I love you," Hixson says.