Family Searching for Answers in 4 Decade Old Cold Case

Published 05/14 2014 07:44PM

Updated 05/14 2014 08:42PM

CABOT, AR -- An Illinois case cold since 1972 has ties to Arkansas.  More than 40 years ago, 1 year old Joey Abernathy was found dead in an Illinois town. His mother, now living in Cabot, Arkansas, is still searching for justice. 

"I still miss him.  I still think about and try to imagine what kind of man he would have been," said Joey's mother Cathie Melville.

"I've described it before as someone stabbing you in the heart and it just stays there," continued Melville.

This week, the family tells us a judge dismissed a case against a man accused of killing little Joey. 

"It's probably one of my most devastating days," explained Melville.

"So this is a pretty devastating day, but I do not intend to stop, whatever it takes," said Melville.

In addition to pushing for trial in the death of Joey, this family is hoping to help others. 

"My brother, his life had purpose," said Joey's sister, Beth Stauffer.

"To share our story, share Joey's story and warn women about the dangers of being with an abusive man, and staying with an abusive man," continued Stauffer.

The plans on how to help others are still in the works, it could be anything from school assemblies to smaller conversation.

The family tell us the prosecuting attorney in Illinois plans to appeal the judge's dismissal. 

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