EXCLUSIVE: Murder victim’s family pleads for answers, offers $5K reward

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)  – Almost two months after a neighbor found a Johnson City man murdered in his home, police say they’re still trying to find the killer.

Now, for the first time, the family of Otis Coy Church is speaking out in a News Channel 11 exclusive.

Sometime between October 30th and 31st, Church died in his home on St. Louis Street.

  • Click HERE to see the first report about the crime on News Channel 11.

Kathy Peltier, Church’s cousin and caretaker in recent years, said she spoke to him on the phone on October 30th, and everything seemed fine.

“He told me he was going to lie down and rest, so I told him I would talk to him later,” Peltier said. “I didn’t get a call later and I thought, well you know he’s probably tired.”

The next morning, repeated calls were never answered. Peltier said a neighbor walked next door to check on Church and found him dead.

“I don’t know anything,” Peltier said. “I don’t know how he died. I don’t know anything.”

Police aren’t releasing details about how Church died. Investigators told News Channel 11 they hope someone will come forward and offer information that will help them find the killer.

Church’s family is desperate for information – and for peace.

“I can’t understand why someone would want to do this to someone so humble, crippled and going blind,” Peltier said.

Church was a veteran. He joined the military at the age of 17, lying about his age so he could serve his country. PTSD limited Church’s life for many years, but an offer by a stranger to pay him to mow her yard led Church to start what would become a successful lawn service business.

A stroke and increasing blindness challenged Church’s ability to function in recent years, but with help from Peltier and neighbors, he fought back. Church earned his GED. He even had plans to go to Alabama in November for a school for blind people.

“I want people out there to know that this was a man that loved life that was just beginning to live life,” Peltier said. “He was a humble man. A very caring man.”

She said he had no money and no medications stronger than Tylenol.

“I can’t understand how someone can be so mean or demoralized or not have any compassion for someone so humble that they can hurt them, much less kill them,” Peltier said. “I just, I can’t understand that.”

The family of Otis Coy Church has offered a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.

If you have information, call the anonymous Johnson City Police Crime Stoppers tip line at 423-434-6158.

Copyright 2016 WJHL.  All rights reserved.

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