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Widow speaks out nearly four years after husband’s murder

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

One of the greatest reminders that Tyquisha Hinds has of her late husband is their 4-year-old son, Ta’Ron, the bright-eyed and inquisitive child who never met his father, Travis.

Travis Hinds, 20, was murdered Nov. 13, 2011, while attending a house party in East Spencer. To this day, Travis’ killer has never been identified or arrested. His death is one of two unsolved murders in the town of East Spencer.

Travis and Tyquisha had spent much of that day together with her mother at choir practice and later with her father. Travis asked his wife to drop him off near a Fulton Street convenience store. It was the last time she’d ever see Travis alive.

“He said, ‘I’ll be home in two hours,’ ” she recalled.

Tyquisha awoke at 1 a.m. and realized her husband never made it home. His cell phone was turned off, so she dialed his closest friend, but got no immediate response.

She later learned Travis had gotten into a car with friends and they traveled to a Cedar Street home. Travis walked into the home, spoke to a few friends that he knew and before making it over the threshold of the front door, he was shot from behind in the head. He was shot multiple times, reports later revealed.

Tyquisha said she was told there were hundreds in attendance at the party, all of whom fled the scene without any conversations with police about what they’d seen. She said some people even broke and jumped out of windows in order to flee from the house, and others stepped on her husband while he was left lying bleeding in the doorway.

Hinds said she received a call from her husband’s closest friend around 2:30 a.m., saying he had bad news. She asked if it involved Travis, and when he said it did, Tyquisha immediately hung up the phone.

“I hung up so quickly, I didn’t know where they were,” she said.

She asked her sister to watch her son and got into the car. Hinds wasn’t sure where the party was held, but asked around and discovered it was in East Spencer.

“I drove down Long Street. I figured I would see something or police,” Hinds said.

She found the house, which was located less than a mile from the East Spencer Police Department.

Hinds first saw an ambulance and ran toward it, hoping she’d find her husband inside on a stretcher, alive.

A police officer pulled Hinds aside and informed her that her husband of seven months was dead.

“I wanted to know who did it,” she said.

She’s never gotten an answer to her question, but others have given her a couple of names of people who may have been involved. Hinds gave those names to the East Spencer Police about a year after her husband’s death, but was turned away, she said.

“They said, ‘You weren’t there,’ ” she said of police.

She begged them to at least question the men she named, but as far as she knows no one has been identified or named as a suspect.

Hinds contacted East Spencer Police last year, she said, and was told they had “not found anything and were waiting on someone to confess.”

“It’s like they don’t care,” Hinds said.

When asked why someone would want to kill her husband, Hinds initially said she didn’t know, but has thought about whether it had to do with Travis’ former lifestyle.

Travis Hinds was part of a gang in California, but left to escape that lifestyle. Although he left gang life, he did begin to sell drugs after moving to North Carolina. When the couple learned they were expecting a child and got married, Hinds said her husband walked away from drugs.

She let her mind contemplate whether Travis was “set up” and then quickly banished the thought.

“I don’t know,” Hinds said.

She speculates whether he was killed because of drugs. She recalled an incident where masked gunmen entered their apartment and robbed Travis of drugs, money and “anything else they wanted.”

“I want justice for Travis,” she said.

The couple had just gotten married in April 2011 and had a baby four months before Travis was gunned down.

One of two pictures Tyquisha has saved on her cell phone are of Travis placing a kiss on her growing belly and of the couple cradling Ta’Ron not long after he was born.

She looks at Ta’Ron and sees Travis mostly because he “looks and acts just like his father,” Tyquisha said.

Her husband’s death took a toll on her and resulted in drastic weight loss, and she even lost her hair.

Tyquisha said she’s had little interaction with East Spencer Police since her husband’s murder, but does recall a meeting she believes occurred with then Acting Police Chief Darren Westmoreland. He visited her home a few times after the murder to “check on me,” but he had no updates for her, she said.

Westmoreland was criticized for refusing help from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation in the investigation of Travis Hinds’ murder. He was fired by the town in 2013. Throughout the years, there have been others in leadership at the police department, but Tyquisha said she’s worried her husband’s case has gotten lost and forgotten.

“It’s been too long,” she said.

Newly appointed East Spencer Police Chief Sharon Hovis, who has been in the position for about two months, said she plans to make this case a priority.

“I plan to follow up and re-open the case,” Hovis said.

Anyone with information into the murder of Travis Hinds is asked to contact East Spencer Police at 704-636-7111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.

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