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Jeffery Holland died by a bullet meant for a friend. His mother wants justice – or at least answers.

Posted at 6:57 PM, Apr 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 20:11:48-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- For eight months, Michelle Wood has agonized over her son's death. She cries every day. She rarely leaves the house.

The pain of losing her third child is bad enough. But the pain she can't stand is not knowing why he was killed – or whether he will ever get justice.

"I just find it hard that it's like 'Poof!' he's gone," Wood said. "No explanation. I just need answers. I need to know why. I just don't want him to be forgotten just because of his lifestyle or the neighborhood."

Photos of her son Jeffrey that Michelle Wood keeps in her living room.

Wood's son Jeffery Holland, 25, had just been released from prison. He'd been convicted of selling cocaine to an undercover officer. He was finishing his sentence on work release in August when one of his friends called him to help him with his four wheeler, which was out of gas.

Holland met his friend near the intersection of 25th and Station streets in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood.

According to witnesses, Holland was sitting in his friend's car when someone fired at them with a rifle – striking Holland in the head.

MAP | 2016 Indianapolis Homicides

Holland's friend stuck around long enough to flag down police, and then took off, Wood said. Holland remained alive for a few more days – long enough for Wood and Holland's father, Jeffery Holland Sr., to agree to allow his heart to be donated.

Homicide victims rarely get to become organ donors. Like Jeffery Holland, Scott Morin was was of the few who did. Click the image above to read more about his story.

"I've been destroyed since my son was killed," Holland Sr. said. "I feel like everything I did was for nothing. It gives me some consolation just to know that some piece of my son is living on in somebody."

Eight months later, no one has been arrested, even though Wood says her son's friend believes he knows who the shooter was.

"The boy told the detective – he just told us this – he told the detective who killed my son and the reason he knows is because they were trying to shoot him," she said. "The month earlier, the same boy got into a shootout and one of his friends was killed by these people."

After months without a break in the case, though, Holland's family saw a bright spot this week. On Wednesday, they learned definitively that Holland became a father before he died. Four-week-old Carter is now officially part of their family.

The memory card from Jeffrey Holland's funeral.

Wood, who said she "just knew" the baby was her son's, said she was overjoyed to have a new grandchild. For Holland Sr. – who hasn't met the child yet – it's his very first one.

"It's bittersweet," he said. "I'm happy because I was feeling like I'd been stripped of everything. It just made me feel like it's true: When God takes something, he gives you something back in return."

For Wood, although having Carter eases the pain, her son's death will never see justice until the people responsible are caught.

"They need to come forward. My son would still be here if they hadn't called him. And if they would not have been out there robbing and doing other people dirty, the guy wouldn't be there shooting. I mean, my son lost his life for nothing, and now I'm thinking nobody's going to have to pay for it. It's like … he's gone, and there's no justice, no nothing."

If you have any information about this case, you're asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Your call may remain anonymous.