Not long before Brett Coffin was found dead in a transient house on Del Valle Road, he left his disposable camera on a table for his mother to develop, even though she protested several times.
"He won," said Marlinda Coffin tearfully. "But even now it's just so hard to look at them."
She and her daughter, Cindy Campbell, are still distraught at the lack of answers in her son's murder case.
Brett Coffin, 37, of 7607 Alema St., was found about 3 a.m. on Oct. 9 in a house at 14701 Del Valle Road. A man staying there told deputies he didn't know Coffin, but had found him unconscious when he got home from work. Coffin died at the scene, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. He'd suffered blunt trauma to his torso, authorities said.
Nearly a month later, Debbie Carter, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said there isn't anything new in the case. Investigators are still trying to track down people who came and went at the house where Coffin was found.
Marlinda Coffin said her son was taking legal action against the man who hit him with a truck just weeks before he died, and that he may have been at the Del Valle Road house to confront someone who lived there who had been taunting him.
"I didn't want him to over to that house," she said. "As soon as I heard someone was dead over there, I went to see and sure enough it was Brett."
What hurts especially for her, she said, is that he'd started to get his life back on track.
Alcohol had long been a problem for him, leading to multiple arrests for driving while intoxicated. But his family says he was putting that behind him.
In her home, his mother has set up a display of all Brett Coffin's accomplishments from college.
Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or email@example.com.