If you've spent some time in Tremont in the last five years, you've probably seen Brandon Cartellone. Shaggy-haired and beaming a goofy grin, the Cleveland Institute of Art student and Valley Forge High School grad's face can be spotted on fliers nailed up on pasteboards and light poles or taped up in restaurant windows around the west side neighborhood — the handiwork of Cartellone's friends and family, who are still searching for his killer(s).
Five years ago today, Cartellone was found murdered in his Tremont apartment
. The 21-year-old was found by his girlfriend tied to a chair with belts and duck tape. He was beaten, gashed, and strangled to death. Police immediately began to suspect the killing was drug related: three marijuana plants were found in Cartellone's apartment, a small home-grow operation he apparently used for his own supply and to supplement his bills.
But although Cleveland detectives turned to suspects immediately, the investigation never led to indictments or definitive arrests. That left the deceased's mother, Lynn Cartellone, to become a one-woman investigative-squad-slash-victim's-advocate, tirelessly digging into her son's case while trying to keep his memory alive.
And although Lynn turned up tangible leads in the case earlier this year
, police have yet to make much progress, she says. "I'm told that the U.S. Marshals were doing footwork for us this spring," she told Scene
yesterday. "But no one has given us the black and white details of what we've gotten, so that's disappointing."
To honor the fifth anniversary of Brandon's loss, Lynn held a gathering of friends and family over the weekend. The night was capped with a Japanese-lantern release. Cartellone's mother continues to push law enforcement and local officials on the investigation.