This is the fifth 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) — There’s an old saying that time heals all wounds, but each passing day is just as painful as the next for Travis Whitaker’s family.

The 21-year-old was stolen from his family on Oct. 5, 2015, shot dead on Manson Street in Norfolk by a killer who remains unknown.

“This is literally how I feel every day. The pain never really goes away even though it’s been seven years,” said his cousin, LaShawn Whitaker.

“Every time you think about it, it’s like it just happened yesterday,” said his aunt, Rita Whitaker-Hamlin. “It doesn’t get easier. It does not get easier.”

Whitaker-Hamlin raised Travis and LaShawn in the same home, and the cousins shared a bedroom when they were kids. Six years older than Travis, LaShawn Whitaker took on the role of big sister for her goofy and playful little cousin.

“You have Travis – happy and wanna play first thing in the morning, and I’m like, no this is not it, but it made my day,” she said. “Of course, thinking back, I wish I had those moments to not be bothered again.”

As he grew, Travis Whitaker never lost his sense of humor or his big smile – traits he passed on to his son who is now 10 years old. Sometimes when LaShawn Whitaker looks at Travis’ son, she sees a carbon copy of the cousin she loves so much.

“We keep him [Travis] alive in a sense,” she said. “We always talk about him, or when he [his son] does certain things we’re like, ‘You look just like your dad. You sound just like your dad.'”

The night Travis Whitaker was murdered, John Smith was at the crime scene as a forensic detective. Smith worked the scene that night, taking pictures and marking evidence. Seven years later, the scene on Mason Street is clear, but Smith is still working it – now as a cold case detective.

“I always follow the evidence hoping that the evidence will ultimately lead to the truth,” Smith said.

The circumstances and the motive surrounding Travis Whitaker’s murder remain a mystery. What is known is that he was heading east through a neighborhood when he was shot.

“He could have been running from something. He could have been walking that way to go home,” Smith said.

Smith said that what could solve Travis Whitaker’s murder is the bravery of someone who knows something to say something to police.

It’s hard for Whitaker-Hamlin to visit Travis’ grave, but she lovingly tends it, trimming overgrown grass with a pair of scissors and marking his final resting place with flowers and bright white balloons.

She remembers the last time she told her nephew she loved him. It was over the phone about an hour before he died.

“I love you. I never get off the phone with my kids without telling them that, and him saying the same thing,” she said.

It was the last time she’d hear Travis Whitaker’s voice in real-time. Today, she’s left with pictures, videos, and memories to pass on to his son.

“I don’t even know what justice looks like,” Whitaker-Hamlin said. “Not saying I don’t want anyone to be held accountable, but that’s not going to bring him back to me. So, I don’t know what justice looks like.”

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