This is the third episode of WAVY-TV 10’s new “Unsolved” series. Each month, we will investigate an unsolved murder and speak with the friends, families, and police officers working tirelessly to find answers in these killings. Our goal is to highlight the impact of violence in our communities and show that no death should ever be a statistic.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — With a generous spirit and a radiant smile, Kenyon Woolard’s mother says her son was a precious jewel whose life was stolen by a thief in the night.

“I would just look at them right now and ask them ‘why?'” his mother, Vera Smith, said. “You didn’t have to do it because anything that you wanted, he would have gave it to you. That was him. He would have gave it to you. You didn’t have to do that. You didn’t have to take his life.”

Known affectionately as “Black” to his friends and family, the 35-year-old father was gunned down in his East Little Creek apartment on April 23, 2009. His murder remains unsolved.

“I had no idea that 13 years and some months later that this case would still be open. A cold case,” Smith said. “I thought it would be solved by now, and someone would be held responsible for it — for what they did to him.”

The last time Smith heard from her son was the night before he died. She missed a call from Woolard — no doubt to talk about the NBA championship games and their beloved Chicago Bulls. She tried to call her son back, but he never answered.

“It was just hard, very hard to believe. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have to wake up and go to his apartment and find out later in the morning that he was murdered,” Smith said.

But that’s exactly what happened. The next morning, Smith’s wildest dreams turned into a nightmare when she found out that her son was shot three times and died alone in his apartment.

“We’re burying our children. Just burying our children. Senseless death. It’s not going to stop. I pray it and wish it would, but it’s not going to stop,” she said.

Woolard was reverent to his mother and grandmother and expected his friends to show them the same respect. He was generous with his time, money, and possessions, and seldom got into trouble. Smith doesn’t believe the person or persons who killed her son were a part of his life — but she does believe that someone in the community holds the key to cracking the case.

“People know who done it, but people don’t open their mouth. Don’t say anything. I don’t know how you can lay down and sleep at night knowing that you know that someone did something to hurt somebody and you don’t say anything,” Smith said.

Anyone with information about Kenyon Woolard’s murder can submit a tip anonymously to the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or at