PARKER COUNTY – Late on New Year’s Eve night 27 years ago, two cars passed each other FM Road 3028 just below Patterson’s Hill near Millsap.
In the car heading north toward Mineral Wells were Bobby and Carol Brown, sitting in the front seat, and in the back seat their three sleeping children, Steven, Billy and Bobby Jr. They had traveled from their home near Little Rock, Ark., to visit Bobby Brown’s father.
As the vehicles passed, the Browns heard a popping sound. Carol Brown asked her husband if it was a gunshot they heard. Bobby Brown wrote the sound off to a bottle being tossed out or perhaps a firecracker.
The family headed into Mineral Wells. It was about 20 minutes later when they were removing the car seat containing 15-month-old Billy that they noticed something was wrong. The toddler was limp and wouldn’t wake up. The children had been sick with colds and taking medicine, so they initially attributed his condition to illness.
Carol Brown, a certified nurse’s assistant, tried to awake Billy. When that failed they drove to the Mineral Wells Fire Department, and from there Billy was transported to Palo Pinto General Hospital. At the hospital, a nurse came out of the emergency room and told the family their son had been shot and died instantly.
Looking at their car, high on the left passenger door just below the window was a bullet hole. The bullet had missed striking Bobby Jr., who was sitting behind the driver’s seat, by inches. Billy and his car seat were in the middle.
Carol Brown could only recall a cream-colored sedan passing them that night of Dec. 31, 1991.
The case was investigated by the Parker County Sheriff’s Office but never solved.
On Friday, Billy Joe Brown’s aunt, Debra Brown Sutton, along with her son, Kenny, his wife and friends Dorlinda Ingersoll and her daughter, Stormie, released blue and white balloons into a blue, cloudless North Texas sky at the spot where it is believed the shooting occurred. Two wreaths were tied to a fence in memory of the child.
Sutton said the case has gone unsolved for too long and she wanted to bring it back to the public’s attention in hopes someone will come forward.
“I’m not going to let it die,” said Sutton. “I want revenge. I want justice for my family. I want justice for this baby. Someone knows who did it and they need to come forward.”
Recalling that night, she said family members were told of other reports of shots fired in the area, including a trailer home that was shot at.
In an interview with the Mineral Wells Index and then-managing editor Jenny Cockerham, Bobby Brown said while the shooter might not have known he killed a baby, they knew they shot into a vehicle.
“The SOBs had no right killing my baby,” said Carol Brown. “I just want these people to be found and brought to justice. Somebody is bound to know something. Someone should be charged. I won’t stop until that happens.”
Anyone with information about this cold case can contact Parker County Crime Stoppers, where an anonymous tip leading to an arrest and indictment will be rewarded. Call 817-599-5555, or go to http://pccs.tips/ and provide information online using the “Submit a Tip” button.