Friend of cold case victim speaks out after 20 years

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — After police crack a 20-year-old cold case, the victim’s friend is struggling to make sense of a surge of emotions.

Justin Barnett went missing in 1995. He was 23 years old.

“He was a young, free-willing spirit,” said Todd McGlynn, who was Barnett’s best friend. “One of the nicest guys you’ve ever met.”

McGlynn said he remembers when Barnett disappeared “like it happened yesterday.”

“The longer it got, the harder it got. Then it finally got to a point where you knew he wasn’t coming back,” McGlynn said.

On Monday, McGlynn finally learned what happened to his best friend.

“He was murdered inside of an apartment here in Birmingham and then he was transported in a vehicle out to Bibb County,” said Birmingham Police Detective Jonathon Ross said during a press conference Monday. “His remains were buried out there.”

Ross said he and his partner started investigating Barnett’s disappearance in January, when a witness came forward, and gave detectives enough information to track down two suspects.

Tricia Abney is now in the Jefferson County Jail, and charged with Barnett’s murder.

Ross said the second suspect knew police were after him. That suspect committed suicide last week.

“All of the emotions,” McGlynn said. “Just 20 years worth get thrown in your lap at once.”

McGlynn took to Facebook when he learned the news about Barnett.

“I felt a responsibility to all our old friends,” McGlynn said. “We finally found out what happened to him.”

McGlynn also found Abney’s Facebook profile.

McGlynn said he’d never heard of Abney until her arrest was announced. He said Barnett didn’t have a relationship with Abner, either.

McGlynn sent Abney a message.

“I was angry,” he said. “I posted a picture of Justin.”

Despite his anger toward Abney, McGlynn still smiles when he thinks about his best friend.

“Sometimes I think he’s in my pocket,” McGlynn said, laughing. “I believe that if theres that world out there, that (barnett) is definitely looking down on it and he’s probably like, ‘finally.'”

Investigators still have not found Barnett’s body, though Ross says they have narrowed down a search area.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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