2nd suspect indicted in 2017 double murder; family remembers victims

2nd suspect indicted in 2017 double murder; family remembers victims

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Family of the victims in a 2017 double murder thought the case had gone cold. However, two years later, answers are starting to arrive.

A candlelight vigil was held Thursday to remember the two young friends, Teressa McCoy, 27, and Austin Gamez, 27. It was held at an auto body shop on Strawberry Lane where McCoy was found.

Gamez, police say, was killed, but his body is still missing.

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Investigators searched the homes of Larry Sauer and Thomas Lanham back in 2018 in connection with the murders.

Lanham was initially arrested on drug charges after the search, but they were dismissed.

Sauer has since been arrested and is now charged with two counts of murder and tampering with physical evidence. Lanham has now also been indicted on two counts of complicity to murder and complicity to tampering with evidence.

Larry Sauer
Larry Sauer (Source: Kentucky Dept. of Corrections)

As she gets closer to the answers she had been searching for, Angela Jernigan stood in the same parking space Thursday where her daughter, McCoy, was found shot dead in her SUV on a frigid December morning.

Two years later, it’s an unusually warm night in Louisville.

“I feel it’s our children keeping us warm so we don’t have to freeze like my daughter did,” Jernigan said.

She says it’s not just the weather that’s significantly warmer: the case is beginning to thaw.

“I thought the case was going cold or going stale and they weren’t working on it. I mean, because crime is crazy in Louisville,” Amy Gamez, Austin’s mother, said. “It feels good to know they were still working on it and they have them.”

While an arrest and an indictment have been made, one disturbing reality remains.

“Where is Austin?” Jernigan asked. “My daughter was found, where is Austin?”

Gamez went missing after McCoy was killed, and police are now saying he is also dead.

“The ultimate goal is to find him so we can go somewhere to grieve him,” Gamez said.

Gamez said she never gave up hope her son was still alive until now, and it’s a pain she has yet to come to terms with. She said it’s difficult to explain to her son’s children.

“I tell him that every day ‘I’m looking for Dada,’ and every time he sees me searching online he says, ‘Are you searching for Dada?’” Gamez said. “I mean, that’s what my life consists of now, searching for my son. If I’m not working, if I’m not sleeping, I’m looking for him.”

It’s a journey toward healing and answers that both mothers are grateful to not have to face alone.

“We’re in this together. Just like we carried them together, they left this world together. We’re together still for them two,” Jernigan said.

Lanham is scheduled for arraignment on January 6th.

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