FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — A Frederick County, Maryland mother is still trying to make sense of a killing that stole her son 16 years ago. Frederick County deputies called the murder suspicious.

Inside Terry Horman’s home, her son’s photos and mementos are on display. Just beside, is a collection of newspaper articles that chronicle his murder.

“It was gory. It’s brutal, it’s brutal to take a life like that, [in] cold blood,” explained Horman.

The 16-year nightmare that has consumed Horman began on the night before her son, Joshua Crawford’s 21st birthday. It was July 2nd, 2003.

 She wanted to come by his apartment on Exeter court in Frederick to celebrate.

“I was trying to get in touch with him so I could say ‘Hey, I want to stop over and bring cake, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream,’ because that was his favorite,” said Horman.

His mother’s calls throughout the day and night went unanswered.

She figured he was out celebrating, but the next day she still couldn’t reach him.

“The next thing I knew, the [Frederick County] Sheriff’s Department, and everybody is walking into my home and that’s when you get the worse news about your son. And it was like I already knew something had happened,” Horman explained.

According to deputies, it was Crawford’s friends who found his body in his apartment. Deputies say the group of friends had knocked several times on the front door, and with no answer, they eventually ended up climbing in through a window.

That’s when they found Crawford’s body.

Deputies add that several personal items of Crawford’s were taken from his apartment.

“He was found and the circumstances were suspicious at the time. The cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force trauma,” explained Sgt. Joe McCallion with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. McCallion is the current detective on the case.  

“He was bound with duct tape around his feet, his hands and his mouth. So when they covered his mouth, they covered his nose too,” Horman added.

Horman recently went back to the apartment where her son died. She says one detail that sticks in her mind is that Crawford himself likely opened the door to whoever killed him.

“It was not a random, it was, we believe, probably someone he knew or people he knew,” said McCallion.

“He trusted whoever who was ever through that peephole because he had the peephole propped up. I’m still convinced to this day that he let them in, he let his killers in,” said Horman.

Horman admits that her son was involved with drug dealing. According to court records, Crawford pleaded guilty to distributing narcotics in 2001, and she says it could have played a role in his murder.

This year, Deputies say in April they served a warrant to collect DNA from a person of interest. Law enforcement did not reveal who the man is but to say that he was identified from a tip received at the beginning of the year.

The sample was sent for testing against DNA collected at the crime scene.

Horman says her only hope is that whoever murdered her son isn’t already dead. She’s hopeful and still fighting for the day deputies knock on her door again, but with answers.

“I want to seek justice. That’s my whole deal, seeking justice for Josh. Josh can’t speak, so I have to speak for him,” Horman said.

Sgt. McSallion says the Sheriff’s Office is still awaiting the results from the DNA test.