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Family refuses to believe unsolved 2011 murder is ‘cold’

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INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 28, 2014) - Lula Smith stepped lightly through the muddy ground of Sutherland Park Cemetery on Indianapolis' north side, looking for the unmarked grave of her son.

"A mother always knows," she said. "I got landmarks."

Smith was joined by nearly a dozen friends and family to mark what they believe to be the third anniversary of J'emell Gant's murder.

"His smile lit up the room when he walked in it."

Gant had been shooting dice...and winning...on New Year's Eve 2011.

A witness told his family that the father of five was up $3,000 rolling bones in a garage in the 3000 block of North Washington Boulevard.

"This was just a two-time event," said Smith. "He went on Christmas and I guess he thought his luck was good and he went back the Friday before New Year's."

Nobody who loved him heard anything from J'emell Gant once 2011 turned into 2012. They searched and found nothing. A week later a DPW crew emptying dumpsters happened on a container they couldn't open mechanically.

"They had to get out physically to open the lid and that is how they found his body, that's how God let us find his body," said Smith.

Investigators think Gant was shot in the neck after someone slashed his tire following a lucky streak.

"They came out and said his car had a flat tire," said Smith, "so he went back in to see if he could get some help. The cousin he was with said there was some gunshots everybody came running out of the garage but him."

Three years later Gant's killing remains unsolved, the original detective has retired and the case has been referred to IMPD's Cold Case Squad.

"You can't never say that it's cold when it comes to God because He does everything in His time," said Juan Bradford, the family's minister. "God has not let this go cold. It may have gone cold in man's eyes but in God's eyes, He knows how to make those people who have been involved in this come forward."

Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana knows how, too. It offers a cash reward for tips about unsolved killings.

If you have information about the murder of J'emell Gant, call Crimestoppers at 262-TIPS.