The decade-old cold case of Joshua Strickland is getting some new light as detectives investigate recently surfaced evidence. They hope to bring closure to the Strickland family by putting his accused killer behind bars, sooner rather than later.
While strong storms pushed through Middle Tennessee the night of September 10, 2010, a different kind of storm was brewing for the Strickland family.
“We got a report that they found my son in Bellevue, behind the cinema in Bellevue,” Joshua’s mother Cynthia Strickland said. “A lady came by at 1 a.m. in the morning and she saw something on fire and it was my son’s truck.”
First responders found Joshua Strickland, 25, inside the burning truck. He was a musician from Dickson with two children, a wife, and a bright future ahead.
“He was going places in life with his music,” Cynthia Strickland said. “Music was his love. And his children. And his family.”
By the time crews arrived, his burning truck was destroyed and Strickland unrecognizable.
Joshua’s Aunt, Joyce Strickland, said, “It’s one thing to lose somebody through sickness, but when you lose somebody through blatant violence – senseless violence – it’s a whole new ball game.”
The Strickland family recalled Joshua’s death to News 2’s Nikki McGee in front of his grave. This is only the fifth time his father, Paul Strickland, has been able to visit.
“I’ve got post-traumatic stress. I have depression. All stuff like that. It just kills me. He was my best friend,” Paul Strickland said.
“I try to take his place as much as possible, but you know, I’m getting kind of elderly now and I can’t do like I used to,” Paul Strickland said. “But I used to take them fishing, play ball with them, wrestle with them. They used to beat me up.”
Paul Strickland tries his best to be there for his grandkids, but he says he’ll never be able to replace his son.
The family has been waiting to get the call from police saying their son’s killer has been caught.
“It had been so many years, and after so many years I just sort of gave up. And then I prayed about it, and I knew that maybe one day that something would happen,” Cynthia Strickland said.
Paul Strickland said for him it would mean relief. “Maybe I’ll be able to sleep without thinking about it,” he added, ” Maybe I’ll have some peace in my heart.”
The entire family said the only thing that has gotten them through the years has been faith.
“We have kept the faith, and we are trusting God’s timing because he works on his time, not ours,” Joyce Strickland said. “And don’t give up, don’t give up. Just keep praying, because sooner or later those people will be brought to justice.”
News 2 is digging deeper into Tennessee’s most notorious unsolved cases.