Family looking for answers in 22-year-old son’s death

Posted at 7:52 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 20:28:41-05

MARTIN, Mich. — The last nine months have been tough for Ryan Cole’s family. They said the 22-year-old father-to-be was killed while at a friend's home in Galesburg earlier this year. Since then no arrests have been made and they fear the case has gone cold.

“I want it to stay in the public eye,” said Ryan's father Todd Cole during an interview at his daughter’s home. “I want it to not get put in a file, in a box somewhere, shoved away and forgotten about. I want justice for him.”

Cole reached out to the media on November 11 about his son’s story. He said he does that every month on the 11th since his son died on February 11. His family has since heard from witnesses about what happened that night.

“There was an altercation,” said Ryan’s mother Kimmberli Etherton retelling what a witness told her at the hospital that night.  “It was over and done with. Everybody was fine. They had went back to drinking. All of sudden this individual got up and went after my son and that was the end of it.”

Etherton said she was told that the person sat on her son's chest during the attack. The witness gave her statement to police, which was similar to what medical personnel stated.

“It was reported that the patient got into a fist fight with someone else and someone had sat on him to hold him down,” said Ryan sister’s Cassandra deBruin reading the medical report. “The police department was called and when they arrived on scene they pulled the other person off of the patient and found that the patient was in cardiac arrest.”

Etherton said that report also states that Ryan had a few abrasions on his body and that he "definitely was assaulted." She said another report revealed that Ryan was not breathing and was foaming at the mouth during the attack. When police arrived, she said, they had to pull the suspect off of Ryan. All of the reports and statements have been presented to authorities, she said. But, there’s been no arrests.

“Reading through all the reports and the autopsy report and the hospital report there’s plenty of intent,” said Cole. “There should be plenty of stuff in there to convict. And he said there isn’t enough to go to court.”

FOX 17 reached out to Galesburg police for a response and are waiting to hear back. The family said they aren’t giving up in their fight for answers. They’ve even created a Justice For Ryan Cole Facebook page to help them in their mission to bring justice to him and put the person responsible behind bars.

“I want to know why nobody’s held accountable,” said Etherton. “If you accidentally hit somebody driving down the road, you’re held accountable. Why is this any different.”