TUSCUMBIA — It no longer matters how beautiful they are.

Kay Claunch has visited waterfalls and seen the fresh blooms of trees. She used to enjoy their beauty, but no longer.

"You don't find beauty in the things you used to find beauty in," Claunch said, pausing to wipe tears from her face. "You try, but it's just not there. I've lost a lot of people but when you bury your child, you bury half of you."

Claunch's son, Gillus Carter Jr., 30, died Aug. 31 at Huntsville Hospital from injuries sustained in an Aug. 16 hit-and-run in the parking lot of Chapel Hill Church of Christ, which is off U.S. 72 on Old Memphis Pike.

Police continue to search for information on who was driving the vehicle, or anyone connected to the incident.

Friday was the one-year anniversary and Claunch sent out a plea for anyone with information to come forward.

"I just pray for justice," Claunch said. "You can't give me my son back. There's nothing that a judge can do to these people except get them off the street so they can't do this to anyone else.

"Anybody who can do that to one person and leave him like a bag of trash on the side of the street needs to be off the street. I want to look at the person. I want to face them. I want them to tell me why they did it."

Police Chief Tony Logan said it appears that while Carter was working on a vehicle in the church parking lot, a maroon vehicle and a white or maroon pickup pulled into the parking lot and were doing donuts and struck Carter. He said the drivers left the scene.

"We're interviewing possible witnesses," Logan said. "We know there were at least four people when it happened. There's somebody out there who has information that can help bring closure to the family."

Anyone with information may call Tuscumbia police at 256-383-3121.

Claunch said she "lived and breathed Gillus."

"He was my world," she said. "Nothing's the same without him. It never will be. It's just not right for anybody to do what they did to him and just walk around.

"I would have thought someone would have come forward by now, that they would stop and think for one minute, what if it happened to someone they love?"

Carter had a stepson, Gabriel, and daughter, Gia, who turns 5 in October.

"His little girl, Gia, she's what keeps me going," Claunch said. "That little girl is what keeps me from laying down dying. I know she needs me and I need her."

She said Carter was crazy about his daughter and stepson. He used to refer to himself, daughter and stepson as the "3G network."

Claunch said the number three is an ironic reference because he died at 3:33 p.m.

She said she will continue her mission of keeping the public aware of this case.

"The more attention that it's given, the more the public knows and the more the chances that someone from the public may come forth," Claunch said.

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski


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