The Lorenzen Wright Murder: Two Years Later - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

The Lorenzen Wright Murder: Two Years Later

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Memphis, TN -

Wednesday marks the two year anniversary of Lorenzen Wright's disappearance. The Memphis basketball star was last seen on July 18. Ten days later, police found his body in a Southeast Memphis field. No arrests have been made, but police say the case isn't closed or cold.

The reward money was increased to $21,000 last year, but even that hasn't helped produce strong leads.  Since Wright's murder, they've received only 38 calls for tips. But, his mother is determined to keep the case fresh, with the help of some old detectives.

Deborah Marion recalls the moment she realized her son was killed, "You just can't describe it, it's a feelin you never wanna feel again."

The Memphis basketball star was born in Oxford, Mississippi. The son of a beautician and former ball player, Wright dreamed big. 

Wright positioned himself as a strong forward in high school.  The fan favorite played for the University of Memphis, then turned pro.  His NBA career spanned 13 years, including seasons as a Memphis Grizzly.

But, Marion says her son's actions off the court played to his true character.

"We would go home to Mississippi in the summertime and if somebody was having a picnic, and it was a lot of old people there and it was hot, he would buy a tent to put over those old people cause those old people could die in this heat, just caring and compassionate."

She says she doesn't know who's responsible for killing her 34-year-old son, but does know who's suffered most.

"He got six kids, and his son graduates next year, and he won't be here for it and when his daughters marry, one of the brother's goin to walk them down the isle."

Wright's murder investigation proved difficult from the beginning.  Soon after he disappeared, Wright called 911, then hung up.  It took days before police investigated the call, and traced it to the murder scene. The botched call delayed the discovery of Wright's body, and hurt the chance officers would find evidence.

Then, the town of Collierville accused Wright's ex-wife of withholding evidence.

"She told detectives he had left the house with some guns, drugs and money, that he was going to flip something for $110,000,"

said Ed McKenney, Collierville Attorney.  "The delay in giving us information would not have changed the fact that he died, it would have had them looking at the case in a different light."

Police won't say whether robbery was a motive, but say Wright's extensive traveling and widespread connections make it harder to crack the case.

"It's the most bizarre case that I have encountered," said Buddy Chapman, Crimestoppers Executive Director.

He Suspects those responsible were not Memphians. Chapman used his 25 years in law enforcement to develop his own theory, based on the murder's circumstances.

"He owed somebody a whole lot of money and he had not paid them that money, and when they confronted him to collect that money he didn't have it all or whatever, and that's the way those people in that line of lending work, you either pay em in full or something bad happened to you," Chapman surmised.

The reward money increased to $21,000 last year, but that hasn't drawn more calls.

Marion is in early talks with the Vidocq Society, a group of volunteer criminal experts who help solve homicides.  They work with law enforcement to break cases.

"I hope they come in and see somethin police already have and was overlooked," said Marion.

For Marion, the Vidocq Society is another layer of hope.  While it could take time to find the killers, Marion is determined to keep her son's memory alive, part of a message to those responsible for ending it.

"I carried him nine months, I got to do this for my child cause nobody else goin' do it I'm goin rock somebody's mind, one day somebody goin' go home and say I'm tired of this lady's mouth so I gotta tell her what happened."

Memphis police say there are no updates in the case.

Know anything? Call Crimestoppers at 528-CASH.

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