Sister, friends put up posters in effort to find brother's killer

Ben Oxley's picture is everywhere: Lamp posts, telephone poles, store windows.

His smiling face shares space with notices for lost puppies and hand-made advertisements for those looking for roommates and band members.

Oxley's sister Ann Becker traveled to Carson Valley last week from her home in Hawaii with 1,000 reward posters in an effort to find the person who shot her brother to death Feb. 21 at his Wildhorse home.

"If I have to keep coming back, I will keep coming back," Becker said last week as she took a break from distributing posters with Oxley's friend Cindy Graham.

During her week in Carson Valley, Becker estimated she hung up at least 700 posters. Graham planned on taking the rest to Carson City.

"I'm afraid if I miss one pole, somebody who knows something will miss it," Graham said.

Despite a Secret Witness reward that is up to $22,500, no arrests have been made and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office has released little information.

Oxley was killed at his home at 2800 Wildhorse Lane early Feb. 21. Deputies arrived at 3:30 a.m. and found the air conditioning specialist dead of a shotgun wound to the head.

Oxley's wife Melissa and 6-year-old daughter were at the residence as well as Melissa Oxley's 15-year-old brother who was living with the family.

"This is really good for me," Becker said. "I think this is what I needed to do so I can say I've done everything I could do for Ben. When I get home, I'll get back to a little more normalcy."

Becker said she was heartened to stop in businesses where people remembered her brother.

"It was very pleasing to go into stores where people knew Ben and told me what a good guy he was. I've heard that four or five times," she said.

Becker also said she was surprised at the number of people who knew nothing about the murder.

"They hadn't read anything about it, they hadn't seen anything about it," she said. "That made me more determined than ever."

"This could happen to anybody else," Graham said.

"I feel so much closer to him here," Becker said. "Every time I hung a poster, it didn't matter if I was cold or hungry or thirsty, it was on to the next pole or the next store. Just the emotions I've felt since I've been here, seeing Ben's friends again and how everybody's doing. It's going to take a long time."

Despite the lack of leads, Becker is optimistic her brother's killer will be brought to justice.

"I'm sticking with hope," she said. "Somebody knows something. There's going to be a breakthrough. The drive to find my brother's killer is what keeps me going. Ben would have done the same thing for me."

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