3 years later, no closure in case of Jae Bellamy, North Charleston hit-and-run victim

Jae Bellamy (Provided)

A deadly hit and run case has gone cold. Three years later, North Charleston Police say they just have to move on.

“I’m still very angry about it,” said Jason Eisenberg.

He’s a tattoo artist, and the best friend of Jae Bellamy, a man who was hit and killed while riding his bicycle on Azalea Drive in 2015.

Eisenberg spoke with ABC News 4 about the bond with his friend formed in the back of his West Ashley tattoo shop, and the struggle to find closure with the suspect still living free.

“It is very cathartic,” Eisenberg said of tattooing in his shop.

Somewhere between the ink well and the canvas, he arrives at a revelation.

“You spend enough time doing this, tattoo shop ends up becoming where every life changing event happens.”

His was the loss his dear friend and now, each session paints a personal portrait.

“I did so many tattoos for Jae. Very much reflected the person who he was,” Eisenberg says.

A white bicycle on the corner of Azalea Drive and Cosgrove Avenue serves as Bellamy’s memorial.

“This is the closest I can be to my friend without thinking about him,” Eisenberg said.

He led the “Come Clean for Jae” campaign. It raised $20,000 as a reward for information leading to an arrest.

But that arrest still hasn’t happened.

“All my friends in law enforcement would tell me the same thing. 'I will keep you posted. If I hear anything you’ll be the first to know.' I never heard anything,” Eisenberg said. “The one missing piece of the puzzle is buried in someone’s conscience. Or lack thereof.”

Leads Run Dry

North Charleston Police Officer Phillip Kirkland worked the deadly hit and run case in 2015.

“We didn’t have much to go on at the scene. We had no witnesses. Nobody was there,” Kirkland said.

His caseload is still growing. He says he investigated almost 1,400 last year, and some are still unsolved.

“I want to bring closure for the family and I want to put the person behind bars,” he said from the NCPD traffic precinct at Tanger Outlets. “Unfortunately we have to move on. I can’t get wrapped around the axle with it. I don’t like saying that, but its’ the reality.”

Moving Forward

The truth hurts, but the final picture is still being painted with inspired ink. Ink that Eisenberg says will never fade.

“I don’t need to get a tattoo to remember my friend because I do it every day,” he said. “He’s not going to be forgotten as long as any of us are alive.”

The state Department of Public Safety told ABC News 4 they tracked one fatal hit and run in 2017 in the city of North Charleston. That’s out of a total 1,337 hit and runs the North Charleston Police Department said it investigated.

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