SUMMERTOWN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Lawrence County family is on a quest to find their son’s killer and his best friend, a pet bird, that’s been missing since his murder.
A month has passed and there are still no answers for the family of Patrick Barger.
“A broken heart is a true thing,” Bridget Barger said while shaking her head. “There’s a hole in our life.”
Their son Patrick was just 25 years old when he was shot and killed inside a Summertown workshop on Caldwell Road on St. Patrick’s Day.
“It’s still dream like,” Patrick’s father, Sean, said.
Living in a blur with survivor’s guilt, Patrick’s parents find it difficult to eat, sleep, and laugh.
“Sometimes it feels like I can’t take a deep breath,” Sean sighed.
They have been printing pictures, grasping hold of tangible memories.
“Found his walking stick. I was cleaning up outside and found his walking stick and just lost control. Those little reminders, they hurt,” Bridget said.
Their minds are tainted by scenarios that play like a movie of who and why.
“You go out in public and you look at people’s faces, and you never know if they are the one. You just don’t know who to trust or who it could have been. Was it someone that we love? Was it someone that’s been in our house? It’s terrifying not knowing and that’s what plays in your head. Is it someone that I’ve hugged already? That’s terrifying to think of.”
The Bargers have since learned that their son fought back before being shot in the back and that two key pieces of evidence recovered at the scene are now in the hands of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
“Whoever that night, they are wearing something. They wore a bruise, they wore a black eye. We know that he fought that night. There was a couple of pieces of evidence recovered there that went to TBI. They lost that fight and they shot him in the back, so they are a coward. Whoever it was was a coward because you didn’t have to shoot him after he was down.”
Now living in fear looking over their shoulders and locking doors, Bridget and Sean are haunted by the sweet sounds of a bird’s song as their “grand bird” Patrick’s parrot, a green-cheeked conure named “Rikka”, hasn’t been seen since Patrick’s murder.
“If someone has him we would love to have him back, or if you know what happened to him so I can stop hating hearing the birds sing that would be great to know” said Bridget, crying as the birds chirped behind her. “That’s the last thing we can do for him. That’s all I can do is try to find his bird for him. I can’t do anything else.”
The Bargers are pleading for anyone with information on their son’s murder or their son’s bird to come forward, saying they can serve as a buffer between law enforcement officials.
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office originally said they were looking into multiple leads and narrowing down suspects in the case. If anyone has any information, you are asked to call investigators at 931-762-3626.
A celebration of life is planned for Patrick next weekend.