FAIRFAX, SC (WJBF) – An Allendale County mother spent her last four years sounding the alarm to law enforcement in efforts to solve her son’s murder.  Barry Thomas, the mother of Mar’quelle Thomas, still has hopes of getting justice.  

“Good morning my baby. Mommy loves you dude.” 

Barry Thomas says this every day.  She talks to her son, Mar’quelle. And she talks to God. 

“Bring forth the charges we need right now Lord, God, Jesus,” the mother said all in the room she’s kept exactly how her son left it. 

Mar’quelle was shot and killed at their Aiken Avenue South home in Fairfax, South Carolina back in April of 2018. 

Crystal Isham was just a kid herself, getting off of her school bus, when her Godson was born. 

Baby Mar’quelle Thomas

“He was like my little brother until he got older it was like he was mine,” said Isham, who is also a cousin.   “Mar’quelle was always a bubbly little kid.  He had this smile that was contagious.  If you were having a bad day, seeing those little beady eyes and that smile would make you forget whatever you were going through.” 

She’d remind him of that smile on his birthdays,  December 6, and now cherishes the young man she describes as humble and smart.  

And his mom told Cold Case Project he was quite the athlete too, with the trophies to prove it.  

She added, “He played football, baseball and basketball.” 

Armed with a diploma from Allendale-Fairfax High School, Thomas stayed home and worked for the manufacturing company Atkore Four Star Industries.  A job his parents hoped would keep him safe.  

“Mar’quelle was on day shift and his dad say no, I don’t want him on day shift.  I’m going to go behind his back and ask them to put him on night shift,” Thomas said lovingly. 

And outside of his job, she leaned on her work as a correctional officer showing Mar’quelle and his brothers what it means to be locked up.  Along with that, a little wisdom too. 

She recalled, “Be careful who you accept into your life as a friend.”  

Despite being the fearless man Barry Thomas says Mar’quelle was, the unthinkable happened to him.  

“A complete shock,” Isham said recounting that dreadful day. 

“It was like the flash of a moment,” his mom added. 

April 10, 2018.  The Thomas family prepared for bed around 9 p.m.  But Mar’quelle, who lived with his parents, went outside to his car. 

“He said OK ma. I’m coming right back in.  And I said OK Mar’quelle.  And it was about maybe two minutes,” Thomas remembered.  “And I knew.  As mom I knew someone just shot him.” 

The incident report states the 22-year-old knocked on his parents’ bedroom window after being gunned down.  His father got out of bed and went outside to find his wounded son. 

“I just went berserk,” Barry Thomas said adding that she nearly died of a broken heart during the entire ordeal.  

Isham was in disbelief. 

“In my head he was OK.  It’s like OK we’re going to get here, he’s going to be fine.” 

Mar’quelle Thomas died the next day at an Augusta hospital. SLED is investigating the case and so far, the agency stated, “SLED agents continue to seek justice for the family of Mar’quelle Thomas.  Investigators recognize that those with knowledge of individuals involved in his death may be reluctant to come forward.  SLED wants to work with the community to help ensure those responsible cannot do this again.” 

“Get out and work,” Isham’s words on law enforcement. “Go talk to these people.  I’m sure you hear who you think it is.  Go talk to them. Do what you got to do to get them to confess or to give you the information that we’re hearing that they’re putting out in the streets.” 

Barry Thomas told us she’s been relentlessly calling police, prosecutors and anyone who will listen to her about getting her son justice since his murder happened.  She’s help marches too all in hopes of raising her voice and getting the case attention.   

“As a grieving mom, all of these high-profile cases that’s being aired all over the world, for me, Mar’quelle’s case is high profile.  Mar’quelle’s justice is high profile.  I want his case front and center,” she said. 

Anyone with any information on the murder of Mar’quelle Thomas should contact CRIMESTOPPERS of the Low County at (843) 554-1111 or the SLED Low Country Regional Office at (843) 782-3822There is a $5,000 dollar reward.  

Next time on the Cold Case Project, we shed light on the murder of 53-year-old Teresa McElderry, who was found dead near the Boat House in Augusta on September 11, 2009.  What family and law enforcement need to get justice and close the case. 

Teresa McElderry

Photojournalist: Regynal McKie