EXCLUSIVE: First murder of 2018 in Waco remains unsolved

Tai'vunn Briscoe
Posted at 5:13 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 11:27:59-04

WACO, TX — On this day last year, a young man was found suffocated inside his own home on Herring Avenue in Waco.

Waco police say it was the first murder of 2018 and the only of the year that's still left to be unsolved.

In an exclusive interview with Central Texas News Now, the victim's mother shared her painful story.

From little league baseball to high school football, TyQuin Briscoe's home is decorated with dozens of photos of her son, Tai'vunn Briscoe.

"They're all over the house," Briscoe said. "They keep me calm."

Briscoe never expected her son, who was born premature, to become an athlete.

"He used to wear small clothes so he could show off his muscles," joked Briscoe. "He wanted everyone to think he was buff."

Briscoe describes her son as a "big kid" who was young at heart. When he wasn't busy with practice, he would spend his free time playing with his younger sister and cousins.

"We used to have so many kids stay at our house, my nieces and nephews stayed at our house and all they wanted to do was hang out with him," Briscoe said. "He'd throw them in the air. They just loved him."

Briscoe had plans to join the military and later go to college. He hoped to play football there, but he never got the chance.

"He was a good kid, very good kid and I miss everything about him," Briscoe said.

It's been a full year since Briscoe lost her son, and best friend.

"You hear about it all the time but you don't think it'll happen to you," Briscoe said.

On March 19, 2018, Briscoe was out of town when her sister called in the middle of the night to tell her something was wrong.

Briscoe called Waco police and rushed home.

Around 11:30 p.m., police found Tai'vunn Briscoe's body inside a closet. The autopsy report says his hands were taped behind his back and a plastic bag was tied over his head.

Photos from the crime scene show clothing was piled on top of him.

Briscoe arrived soon after police, but they didn't let her go inside. She had to identify her son using a picture.

"It was a picture of the tattoo he had just gotten for his birthday and I couldn't do nothing but cry because that was him," Briscoe said.

Briscoe said she was then taken to the police department for questioning. The next place she saw her son was at his funeral.

"All I could do was just kiss him and tell him I'm sorry," Briscoe said.

Briscoe never spent another night in their home. The only reason she went back was to pack up her things before moving out of town.

"That house that we lived in for 11 years wasn't a home anymore," Briscoe said. "He was in there asleep. Somebody came into our home. Someone came in and destroyed it right in a day."

She spent the holidays beside Briscoe's grave in Mart. It's still decorated with candy canes for Christmas and hearts for Valentine's day.

This new reality is difficult for his 10-year-old sister, I'ayania Bedford.

"He was a good brother," I'ayania said. "He would always pick me up and always feed me."

I'ayania started to cry, saying this year without her brother has made her sad.

"She loved and looked up to her big brother," Briscoe said. "Sometimes she has her days, she'll have a bad dream. It's hard. I keep her busy so she won't have time to think about it."

Briscoe believes she knows who's responsible for her son's death. She said police do, too.

"Suffocation, that's personal, very personal," Briscoe said.

Briscoe said the investigator assigned to her case tells her they can't move forward with an arrest until DNA results come back.

She said the investigator checks in with her often, but hasn't given her much new information.

"I haven't learned anything at all. I don't know why, I don't know how, anything," Briscoe said. "I want answers."

The special crimes supervisor with the Waco Police Department said it can take anywhere from six months to more than a year for DNA to be tested.

When we started to ask Waco police questions about the case and why it's taking to so long to get the DNA, we were told "open investigation, no comment."

Briscoe is worried her son will become another cold case on the shelf that never gets solved.

"He was a good kid and you ask yourself, 'what was he doing to deserve this? What was he doing to deserve this?'" Briscoe said.

But all Briscoe can do is be patient as she continues to live with the pain.

"It's hard to pick up your life every day and you don't have answers," Briscoe said. "So I just live every day, hoping the detective will call me and tell me she's going to go make an arrest."

She said the memory of her son is what keeps her going.

"That's why I have all the pictures," Briscoe said. "For the memories."

Waco police wouldn't tell us where they send their DNA to be tested.

Briscoe's body was sent to the Southwestern Institute of Forensics for autopsy. DNA is also tested there.

Chief of Physical Evidence Timothy Sliter would not confirm if they had the sample from Waco police, but he did say they test DNA based off an agency's needs.

He said DNA can be tested in a little as two days, but it can also sit for several years if the agency doesn't specify an immediate need or give a time frame for its return.