JC man's death still a mystery almost eight years later - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

JC man's death still a mystery almost eight years later

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Gordon Banner Gordon Banner
JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) - Sharon Shade is a woman with a strong faith. Without it, she couldn't have made it to this point.

"These last two years have been a struggle, but I'm still standing," she said. "This is a test and it's just a test for me. I got to withstand that test. God said he would reveal everything in His time, not mine and I take Him at his word."

October will mark eight years since the mysterious death of Shade's 23 year-old son Gordon Banner of Johnson City.

A man walking his dog discovered Banner's body floating near the Fort Patrick Henry Dam in Sullivan County back in 2006. An autopsy revealed Banner died from drowning and blunt force trauma to the head.

Shade says the last time she heard anything from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation about her son's death was February 2012.

"That was behind a rumor that ended up being nothing," Shade said.

Six months before that, she said another lead never materialized.

"I know they've spoken with hundreds of people," Shade said of investigation. "Still, nothing's coming out of it."

Shade says Banner went to a downtown Johnson City gay bar one night in 2006. Next thing his mother knew, her son was dead. She thinks his lifestyle may have played a role in that death.

"He was bisexual," Shade said. "He had his woman friends. Gordon had his secrets and he was far from an angel."

What's most strange about this though is that Banner usually walked everywhere. It's a mystery how he ended up 20 miles away in Sullivan County. Shade thinks more than one person was involved.

"Gordon wouldn't hurt nobody intentionally," Shade said. "In my heart I feel somebody gave him a lick, he took a lick. There's only so much I can say and I think they thought Gordon was dead and they freaked. Gordon wasn't dead. Gordon was unconscious."

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Public Information Officer Josh DeVine says the standstill in this case isn't for a lack of trying.

"This case is still open and still under investigation here at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and there has been a very long time since we've had any significant leads in this particular case, but we do still consider this active and still under investigation," DeVine said. "Our case agents continue to follow any and all leads that are out there. The problem is that there are just not a lot of them at this point. We just don't have an abundance of clues at this point, no significant leads that we can report at this point, and that's why we're urging anybody who might have any kind of small piece information, or big piece of information for that matter, to give us a call."

DeVine says people can call in tips anonymously to 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Banner's mom knows someone out there knows something. She also knows this case may very well come down to the secrets Gordon kept and the secrets others may be keeping from the rest of us.

"Gordon knew so many people," Shade said. "Gordon kept so much to himself. I'll pursue it to the day I die."

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