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'Truly an innocent victim' Livingston's mother, cops want '06 killers found, prosecuted

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It's was July 13, 2006, at about 10:30 p.m. when Ryan Livingston was stabbed on the sidewalk near the 300 block of West Walnut Street. He died early the next morning.

Nearly two years after the murder, Ryan's mom, Denise Livingston, said she cries less these days but the toll of losing her son has been crippling for her and her Carterville family.

"It doesn't go away; it affects every part of your life," she said. "It's hard enough to lose a loved one to natural causes but to lose a son this way - I wouldn't wish this on anyone."

Based largely on information 22-year-old Ryan gave before he lost consciousness, police believe he was the victim of an attempted robbery by two black males at about 10:30 p.m.

The incident occurred, Denise said, on a night Ryan spent enjoying a Sunset Concert and, afterward, hanging out with friends.

"He had stopped off for a drink and was on his way to his brother's when it happened," she said.

Lt. Paul Echols, who was working the night Ryan was stabbed and who is now investigating the crime, described him as "truly an innocent victim."

When asked how she would describe Ryan, Denise smiled and remembered aloud some of the memories of her energetic, creative son, who loved movies and was "madly in love" with his infant daughter.

She recalled the time 3-year-old Ryan scaled the TV antenna and proceeded to walk along the roof. She recounted a son who had no urge to drive a car and instead would take rides with his mom and play trivia games along the way.

"I miss those rides," she said.

"Those people that did it, he was a target. But to the rest of us he was a son, a brother, a father, a friend, a person."

Police revealed earlier this week that they received a letter in September from a writer who claimed to have knowledge of the crime and its perpetrators.

Echols said, because the investigation continues, he could not give further details of the letter except to confirm that police believe the author to have been a female resident in the region who is or was acquainted with the killer.

The author of the letter asked police to respond if her information proved helpful. Through an ad placed in the Southern Illinoisan in October, police did so. But they have heard nothing since.

The reward for information leading to an arrest in the case has increased and now stands at $16,000.

Echols said he hopes this compels someone to come forward.

"But this comes down to people doing the right thing," he said. "People need to put themselves in the family's shoes."

blackwell.thomas@thesouthern.com

351-5823

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