Police say an eighth grader found dying on a roadway was a hit-and-run victim, but his parents believe he was murdered.
On June 4th, 1989, in Spokane, Washington, two friends on their way home were startled when their headlights revealed a body stretched out in the road. Thirteen year-old Russell Evans had apparently been struck by a car. He was barely alive, calling out for someone named Brian. Russell was admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital at 1:30 AM. Doctors struggled through the night to save his life as his parents stood by. The emergency team worked frantically, but by morning, Russell Evans was dead.
Russell was an active and popular 8th grader at Libby Middle School in Spokane. By the age of 13, he was already 6’3” tall. Aaron Abrhamson was one of his best friends:
On the night of June 3rd, in the hours before Russell died, he was with Aaron and other friends hanging out at a local park. It was a typical summer evening, until they were approached by two other teenagers. It escalated into an argument over Aaron’s girlfriend. Aaron said he was threatened and that Russell came to his defense:
After leaving the park, Russell spent the rest of the evening at a friend’s house. Then, at about 12:30 AM, he called his father to say that he was heading home.
Based on evidence found at the scene, police constructed a hit-and-run scenario. Spokane Police Lt. James Hill:
Forensic pathologist George Lindholm concluded that Russell was likely struck in the back by a bumper. However, his father, John Evans, had a different opinion:
John and Sue Evans obtained copies of the official police report, complete with photographs. They noted that Russell’s shoes didn’t have their laces; they had been torn out. To Russell’s parents, it seemed like an important clue. The Evans’ returned to the scene of the accident with Sandy Ferris, the woman who had found Russell. Something didn’t feel right to Russell’s father:
John and Sue became convinced that their son had been struck by something other than a hit-and-run driver, and they hired their own pathologist to investigate. While he did conclude that Russell had been hit by a car, the pathologist also told John that he found evidence of a struggle:
Based on their research, Russell’s father reconstructed his son’s final moments:
Due to the allegations, the boys involved in the altercation with Russell and Aaron were given polygraph tests. They all passed.
Sandy Ferris, the woman who found Russell at the scene, claimed Russell was calling out to someone for help that night:
John Evans knew a friend of Russell’s named Brian and asked him if he knew anything:
Police speculate that the man Sandy saw running off was simply a curious citizen that heard the commotion and went out to take a look. But when Sue Evans arrived at the hospital that night, someone named Brian had just called the emergency ward to ask about Russell. She finds this more than suspicious:
Russell’s father John remains suspicious about the events of that night:
Evidence from the scene fully convinced Russell’s parents that he had been attacked and murdered, while police still believe Russell was the victim of a hit-and-run. However, officially, the case remains unsolved.