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‘I do hold Mayor Jackson and Chief Williams squarely accountable’: mother of cold-case murder victim

Ryan Dixon was shot in a car on Cleveland’s east side back in January 2016.
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 11:03 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Five years after 22-year-old Ryan Dixon was murdered, Cleveland police have made a call for specialized help to solve the cold-case killing.

Cleveland 19 News has learned the city asked for assistance from Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) to help solve Dixon’s case, along with two other murders.

Dixon, a resident of Middleburg Heights, was found shot in a car on Cleveland’s east side back in January 2016. Police said it happened near the intersection of East 61st and Griswold Ave.

Fast forward over five years later, and still, no arrests have been made. For Danita White, Dixon’s mother, that’s meant over 1800 sleepless nights.

“He said OK, mom, I love you. I’m getting ready to go home soon,” White told 19 News, recalling the conversation she had with her son shortly before he was shot and killed.

White said her son was in the car with three other people when several guys walked up to the vehicle and started shooting at him. Dixon, a father of two young kids, was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Five years after 22-year-old Ryan Dixon was murdered, Cleveland police have made a call for...
Five years after 22-year-old Ryan Dixon was murdered, Cleveland police have made a call for specialized help to solve the cold case killing.(Danita White)

“I apparently began headbutting the floor and screaming,” White said.

The only information Cleveland police have provided on the suspects is that there were “multiple black males wearing dark clothing.”

“I do hold Mayor Jackson and Chief Williams squarely accountable,” said White. “Black men are dying, black women too, at a rate that is just unbelievable. And Cleveland, in particular, does not have the resources to put towards it. Homicide (department) cannot do their job.”

There also still no definitive motive for Dixon’s murder, but White said she has a few theories.

“I maintain all along that I think he was set up for robbery,” White said, adding that she thinks her son was targeted to steal some of his weed and some of his cash.

“The great irony is that he didn’t have a lot anyway,” White said, noting that her son had only around $30 on him when he was shot.

“I’ll never get over it. But, moving forward with it, it’s very hard to do when you don’t have closure. My son deserves it, his family deserves it, I deserve it,” White said.

Five years after 22-year-old Ryan Dixon was murdered, Cleveland police have made a call for...
Five years after 22-year-old Ryan Dixon was murdered, Cleveland police have made a call for specialized help to solve the cold case killing.(Danita White)

The City of Cleveland sent a formal request to BCI on Thursday asking for their help in solving the murders of Dixon, Aliza Sherman, and Stephen Halton.

Aliza Sherman of Beachwood was stabbed eleven times on March 24, 2013.

The Cleveland Clinic nurse was in the middle of a messy divorce was on her way to meet with her attorney on a Sunday afternoon in downtown Cleveland.

The suspected killer was spotted on grainy surveillance video running away from the scene.

Stephen Halton Jr was killed on January 11, 2014. Halton was on his way to work at the Cleveland Clinic, but unfortunately, he never made it.

Someone shot and killed Halton at a bus stop on Lakeshore Blvd. Police believe it was an attempted robbery gone wrong.

The following statement was released by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office regarding the request: “BCI’s Cold Case Unit applies fresh detective work and modern forensic techniques to unsolved cases in partnership with the requesting agency. We look forward to working with Cleveland Police on these cases to secure a measure of justice for the victims’ families.”

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