Pata’s death remains a mystery

It’s been one year since shots rang out in Kendall. One year since such a promising life was snuffed out. One year of wanting and waiting for the answers that have yet to come. It’s been one year since UM student athlete Bryan Pata was murdered, and all that’s left are questions and memories.

There was a “person of interest” last December, but that seemed to fizzle out. All efforts have led to “some leads,” according to Miami-Dade’s homicide division, but they say they’re still missing the link they need to solve the crime. The investigation, the media attention and the $21,000 in reward money have all been for naught up to this point.

Many faced with this circumstance would give up hope. But Jeanette Pata is not going down without a fight. She’s teaming up with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and participating in “Canes on Patrol.”

“365 days coming on Wednesday, 365 is a long time,” Jeanette Pata said Monday. “We want an answer. We want an answer from everybody. We need answers. Who killed him? Something is not right.”

In the past the program has typically focused on gang violence, but this year it is tackling unsolved crimes by reaching out to the Pata family and to the family of Sgt. Chris Reyka, a Broward Sheriff’s Officer gunned down last August. His killer has not been found.

“It’s going to take the public to solve it,” said Al Lamberti, the Sheriff of Broward County. “We need to keep [these cases] in front of them.”

Thanks to corporate funding from BrandsMart, the BSO plans to plaster posters around South Florida reminding the public of the two murders in hopes that renewed awareness will lead to the information needed to crack the cases.

Meanwhile, Jeanette Pata soldiers on, still praying for the answers that won’t come, still clinging to the memories of her baby Bryan.

“This is my little teddy bear for Bryan; I put it there every night to sleep,” she said, clinging to the bear and fighting back tears. “Because I miss him, this is my baby, this is my baby.”

If you have any information about Bryan Pata’s murder, please call Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers 305-471-TIPS (8477).

Matthew Bunch may be reached at