LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – When Lawanna McDowell Allen looks at pictures of her late son, Rayvon McDowell, they bring mixed emotions.
“I just try to take a little bit at a time because it’s not easy,” Lawanna said.
Last year Rayvon was gunned down while in his truck in Little Rock.
“It just feels like I’m suffocating, can’t breathe, can’t think and I’m just existing,” she said.
Nearly a month later, the Little Rock Police Department made an arrest. The suspect was charged with capital murder.
“I was very happy,” Lawanna said.
“We were overjoyed because not only was there an arrest, the individual was arrested and charged with capital murder and we knew that was the highest they could go so we felt really good as a family,” Lakesia Wilbon-Aycock, Rayvon’s aunt, said.
But that feeling quickly faded when they found out the suspect was released, and the former Pulaski County prosecutor had no plans to go further with the case.
“We were so confused. Like, how do you go from capital murder being charged to just released?” Lakesia said. “No bond, no anything, just released so we wanted answers.”
FOX16 also wanted answers, so we asked LRPD about the status of this case. A police spokesperson said the case was technically closed because based off FBI standards a case is closed when officers make an arrest, a person is charged with the crime, and the case is turned over to the court for prosecution.
Of the 81 homicides in Little Rock in 2022, police said they solved 52 of the cases. We checked court documents for every solved case and found at least three where the charges were reduced, cancelled, or dismissed.
“That is a level of anger, hurt, anguish,” Lakesia said. “Not only is it a slap in the face to the family, it’s a slap in the face to the victims.”
LRPD told FOX16 although Rayvon’s case was technically solved, homicide detectives were still reviewing the evidence. Now Rayvon’s family is hopeful they will receive justice since new prosecutor Will Jones is now in office. The family went to see him back in February.
“We were so grateful that he took the time out of his day and met with us,” Lakesia said.
Jones told FOX16 he plans to speak with Rayvon’s family about this case and another case close to the family. Rayvon’s uncle Brian was killed in Little Rock nearly one year before Rayvon. The family is waiting for justice in both cases.
“They took our backbone and I just ask the prosecutor to please hear our cry, to hear our prayer. We just want some type of justice,” Lakesia said.
Rayvon’s family is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in their son’s case. You can contact the family at 501-404-8689 or report an anonymous tip to Little Rock Police Department at 501-371-4636.
His family also plans to start a foundation to help other families who are going through this unimaginable experience.