11 years of suspect in hiding, Mother of murdered Hampton student still has hope

HAMPTON, Va. - Eleven years after his tragic and sudden death, it still isn't easy for Cheryl Bryant to see her son's picture.

"I still have hope, I really still have hope."

Cheryl spoke to News 3 via Skype about her son Byron, a Hampton University football player with big plans. Among them, to become a sports entertainment attorney.

"He was very kind, he was very considerate," she says. "He loved to dress, I mean he was GQ."

Now Byron is just a distant memory.

One July night, 11 years ago, a brawl erupted in a downtown Hampton restaurant and Byron was stabbed to death.

His fellow classmate, Jihad Ramadan, is wanted for Byron's murder. The US Marshals have looked for him since.

"This alleged incident happened right before Jihad turned 19, he just turned 30 earlier this month," says Chris Leuer, Deputy US Marshal. "He's been on the run his entire adult life."

Leuer says US Marshals have exhausted thousands of hours working to locate Ramadan. Because of this case, Ramadan became one of America's Most Wanted fugitives.

Their investigation reveals that Ramadan could be anywhere, from up in New York, to Florida, or the west coast. He may be in the Caribbean, and wherever he is, it is likely under a completely new alias.

"It's pretty clear he has an extensive network," says Leuer.

Cheryl also believes there are people who know exactly where Ramadan is living, which is why she will not give up.

"As a mom we protect our kids in life and when they're gone, especially in a story like this," she says. "I keep saying to my son, you know, 'ok son, we're going to get him, your mom's not quitting, your moms not going to stop.'"

Cheryl says she is increasing the reward, for tips that lead to an arrest, to $5,000 from $2,500. She says family and friends are working to get the reward to $25,000.

Anyone with information can contact the U.S. Marshals communications center at 1-800-336-0102.