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Father wants answers in son’s death

On the Sunday before New Year’s Day, The Journal Gazette ran a story detailing 29 homicides that had taken place in Allen County during 2012.

To the distress of Don Frisby, his son’s name wasn’t on the list. According to the coroner’s office, his son, Josh Frisby, unquestionably died of a single gunshot wound to the head on or about May 22 in his apartment at 2516 Lafayette St., but the death certificate says the nature of the death could not be determined.

It is as though the death of his son was neither a homicide nor a suicide – as though it didn’t matter.

It makes no sense to Frisby.

The details of the case do make one wonder.

Josh Frisby, who was 27, supported himself by delivering pizzas. He drove an old Chevy to deliver pizzas, but when he had dates he drove his father’s 10-year-old Mercedes.

Josh Frisby had other plans, though. Just a week and a half before he died, Frisby had graduated with a degree in information technology from Purdue University.

Frisby had previously shared an apartment with his sister, but she transferred to the University of Alabama.

Later he shared an apartment with some roommates, his father said, but disputes over who should pay the utilities and such caused him to move out and rent the apartment on Lafayette.

Don Frisby didn’t like that idea. He said he begged him not to move there and even showed him a map of shootings that had happened in the area, but his son moved there anyway.

Then, on May 26, Frisby was found dead in his upstairs apartment, sitting up on his bed with his hands crossed in his lap, shot once in the head at close range. His son had to have died about 2 a.m. May 22, his father said, because he had been sending text messages that stopped at 2 a.m. that day.

Initially there was some thought that the death could be a suicide, but some things didn’t add up. There was no suicide note, and most important, there was no gun in the apartment.

Unbeknown to Don Frisby, his son did own a .40-caliber handgun, but the gun wasn’t found. Police tore the apartment apart looking for the gun, Don Frisby said, but found nothing. People don’t kill themselves and then throw away the gun.

Also, Frisby was planning to travel to Alabama to see his sister and had a plane ticket and several hundred dollars in cash for the trip. The cash was gone, as was Frisby’s laptop. His cellphone was still there, but all the contact information on it had been erased. There were fingerprints on the phone, but they weren’t Frisby’s, his father said.

Also, his son’s wallet was missing, Frisby said. Initially, he said, police told him the coroner had it, but then the coroner’s office said it never recovered a wallet, he said.

Finally, Frisby said, police say neighbors reported hearing some kind of a fight in the apartment about 2 a.m. on the day his son is believed to have died. Frisby’s body was discovered the following Saturday, when a person with an apartment in the same building noticed the door was open and spotted the body.

Yes, Frisby said, someone could have robbed his son’s apartment after he was dead. But his son had just filled his car with gas and paid his rent that day. People don’t do things like that when they are contemplating suicide, he said.

Frisby said he’s worked with detectives and had dozens of conversations with police, but as time has passed, police aren’t calling him back.

The police have been great, he said, but now everything has stopped. It’s a cold case now, he said.

It’s the undetermined nature of death that irks Frisby.

“Get off the fence,” he said, “and call it a homicide or a suicide, and if you say it’s a suicide, then prove it.”

Of course Allen County has a new coroner to ponder Frisby’s arguments.

Crime Stoppers has started asking for information on Josh Frisby’s death. Frisby takes some consolation in that. Maybe someone will report something.

It’s been eight months now, though, Frisby said. Every day he speculates about what might have happened.

But he’s tired, he said, and he has no closure.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.

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