For nearly two years, Brison Hodge has asked his grandmother about his father's whereabouts. The child looks at pictures of his father and asks if that was him. He goes into his father's room and picks up items, asking if they belonged to his dad.
"We have to explain to him that he's in Heaven," Jane Gill said of the 3-year-old.
Brian Hodge, 31, was fatally shot on Dakota Street on Aug. 12, 2012. The investigation into his death had stalled because Lexington police had very few leads.
On Wednesday, police got a major break in the case.
Lazarus R. Parker, 31, was arrested at 10:25 a.m. Wednesday. He is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in Hodge's slaying.
It is not clear what led police to Parker. A motive also was not released.
Lt. Brian Maynard said he couldn't discuss details of the case because it was an open investigation.
Wednesday's arrest brought friends and family some sense of peace.
Gill said she would call the police periodically to see whether any leads had come up. After nearly two years of virtual silence, she contemplated hiring a private investigator.
"God brought it to closure for us," Gill said.
Family and friends don't know whether Parker knew Hodge. They don't know why anyone would want to harm him.
Hodge was described as a man who looked out for others.
Bridgette Robinson, Hodge's cousin, recalled Gill giving Hodge an expensive coat for Christmas. Hodge came home one day without the jacket which prompted Gill to ask what had happened. Hodge said he gave the jacket to someone less fortunate than him. Gill told him countless times that he was too kind for his own good.
Gill said her son was a "gentle giant" and a devout Christian.
Hodge and his mother were very close, checking up on one another as much as possible.
"Brian was really a momma's boy," Gill said with a laugh. "Big time, big time."
Hodge had a several interests, including cooking, fishing and gardening. Hodge worked at Indi's Fast Food on North Broadway, but had received his HVAC certification months before his death, she said.
Robinson said they bonded while growing up together. Robinson said Hodge would always see the good in people and she always tries to adopt Hodge's motto of thinking positive when going through bad times.
"I don't know anybody like him," Robinson said.
Robinson said when people read a story about a death, they have little knowledge of how much the death impacts the family and community. Robinson said the arrest will bring some closure, but it will not fill the hole in the family's hearts.
"It will never bring our loved one back," Robinson said.
Aaram Chase, manager of Indi's, said Hodge was a good worker. He hopes the arrest will provide the family with some sense of closure.
"There might be a little closure for everybody in this city," Chase said.