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An unsolved murder in Limestone County
Grandmother, sheriff seek answers on fifth anniversary of Decatur man’s slaying

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com · 340-2445

ATHENS — A Decatur grandmother just wants the answer to “Why?”

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely wants the answer to “Who?”

Their questions have remained unanswered for five years.

Saturday will mark the anniversary of the murder of 32-year-old Robbie Thrasher of Decatur.

On Nov. 3, 2002, someone bashed him in the head with a hatchet or machete, Blakely said, gagged him and then stuffed him into the trunk of his vehicle on Pryor Road in Mooresville. Limestone authorities found him five days later.

$20,000 reward

Despite a $20,000 reward, no one has given information that would lead to an arrest.

“This is our only unsolved murder in the last 25 years,” Blakely said. “All our leads have come to a dead end.”

Thrasher’s grandmother, 72-year-old Nadine Thrasher, said not knowing who killed her grandson has nearly made her “crazy.”

During the past five years, she has talked to psychics, television shows like “Unsolved Mysteries” and a gay activist group in hopes of finding the killer. Thrasher was gay, and she believes that made him a target.

Nadine Thrasher also has lived as if every stranger she has met were the killer.

“There was a time when I was suspicious of everybody I saw,” she said. “I didn’t trust anybody or anything, and if you don’t let that go, you’ll make yourself crazy. I mean, I was as close to crazy as a person can get.”

Blakely said the killing could have been a hate crime or the result of an encounter with another gay male.

“There may even be more than one person involved,” he said. “We just don’t know.”

Thrasher was known to have encounters with strangers, Blakely said, and his car was located in an area where gays meet for encounters.

“All we know is that there was a party in Huntsville the night of Nov. 2, and he left that party about midnight and later called a friend in Athens to say he was attempting to talk to a guy in a Silverado pickup,” Blakely said. “He didn’t give the color or year of the truck.”

Nadine Thrasher reported her grandson missing to Decatur police Nov. 6 or Nov. 7. His friend went looking for him and found his blue 1998 Chevrolet Lumina on Pryor Road on Nov. 8, Blakely said. The area that is in Limestone’s jurisdiction.

The vehicle was unlocked, the sheriff said. Missing were Thrasher’s golf clubs, a blue and white or black and white golf bag, his wallet, identification, a checkbook and cell phone.

“We never recovered any of those items,” Blakely said. “Hopefully, there’s someone out there who was reluctant to come forward at the time who would be willing to help us solve this now.”

Nadine Thrasher said Saturday will be, as the other anniversaries have been, “a bad day for us.”

“We’ll go to the cemetery and take him flowers,” she said.

And, she’ll keep wondering, “Why?”

“Whoever killed him does not realize that they killed a good human being,” Nadine Thrasher said. “Just because he was gay doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good person. I just want to know why it happened. He wouldn’t have hurt anybody.”

Blakely said, and his car was in an area where gays meet for encounters.

“All we know is that there was a party in Huntsville the night of Nov. 2, and he left that party about midnight and later called a friend in Athens to say he was attempting to talk to a guy in a Silverado pickup,” Blakely said. “He didn’t give the color or year of the truck.”

Reported missing

Nadine Thrasher reported her grandson missing to Decatur police Nov. 6 or Nov. 7. His friend went looking for him and found his blue 1998 Chevrolet Lumina on Pryor Road on Nov. 8, Blakely said. The area is in Limestone’s jurisdiction.

The vehicle was unlocked, the sheriff said. Missing were Thrasher’s golf clubs, a blue and white or black and white golf bag, his wallet, identification, a checkbook and cell phone.

“We never recovered any of those items,” Blakely said. “Hopefully, there’s someone out there who was reluctant to come forward at the time who would be willing to help us solve this now.”

Nadine Thrasher said Saturday will be, as the other anniversaries have been, “a bad day for us.”

“We’ll go to the cemetery and take him flowers,” she said.

And, she’ll keep wondering “Why?”

“Whoever killed him does not realize that they killed a good human being,” Nadine Thrasher said. “Just because he was gay doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good person. I just want to know why it happened. He wouldn’t have hurt anybody.”

Solve a homicide

Anyone with information about who killed 32-year-old Robbie Thrasher of Decatur on Nov. 3, 2002, may call Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely or Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt at (256)-232-0111.

There is a $20,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. If you wish, your name will remain anonymous.

Thrasher’s grandmother, Nadine Thrasher, asks that any gay activist group that would like to help please contact her by e-mailing Daily reporter Holly Hollman at hhollman@decaturdaily.com.

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