ST. PAULS, N.C. (WBTW) — The family of murdered Robeson County football star Marqueise Coleman has purchased a billboard along I-95 in the hopes of finding those responsible for his death.
Coleman, who friends and family called Queise, was murdered in July, only days before he was supposed to return to Fayetteville State University to play as a running back. His family hopes the billboard will encourage those who know what happened to speak up. Queise’s mother, Tanisha Coleman, said after nearly six months with no answers, it has been difficult to move on.
“Saint Pauls is only so big. It’s a little, small area. Why hasn’t anyone spoken up?,” Coleman asked. “Why does this family have to go to the extent of putting up a billboard to make people speak up?”
The billboard was put up Monday. Coleman said it was difficult to watch.
“I haven’t been out here to see it since, because the day they put it up, I just cried,” she said.
Stephanie Blackadar, a relative of Marqueise, raised more than $2,000 for the billboard.
“Seeing that much pain in the people that I loved tore me apart,” Blackadar said.
Many of the donations came in $32 increments.
“Queise’s number when he played football was 32,” Blackadar explained. “At Fayetteville State, he would have been number 32. He was called big 32.”
Blackadar said she started raising awareness by selling yard signs, but some of them went missing.
“So I said, ‘What are they going to do if I put up a billboard?’” Blackadar said.
The family hopes the billboard and their Facebook page, “Justice for Queise,” will get enough attention to find out who is responsible so they can focus on preserving Marqueise’s legacy. They intend to start a foundation in his name.
“Our goal is to make sure that finances are not a roadblock for any K-12 student that wants to play sports,” Blackadar said.
“His life was football. All he wanted to do was play football. Ever since he was small, he would say he was going to the NFL,” Coleman said. “That got cut short at 19 years old.”
Coleman’s family encourages those who know anything to leave an anonymous tip at 910-865-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest will be met with an $8,000 reward.