$5K reward offered in 2005 killing of 33-year-old

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A $5,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to an arrest in the killing of a Jacksonville Pop Warner football coach in 2005.

Merkel Smalls Sr.'s body was found nine years ago by railroad workers near train tracks off Thien Street on the Northside.

Police, family and friends still don't know who killed the 33-year-old.

"So we are asking the perpetrator who perpetrated the crime to please come forward," said Patricia Smalls, Merkel Smalls' mother. "You have a conscience that you have to live with, and a conscience kills. How can you sleep at night?"

Merkel Smalls disappeared on June 20, 2005. His body was found three days later near the railroad tracks.

He left behind his parents, his now 22-year-old son and now 18-year-old daughter. They are still looking for closure.

"One day I went to church and I was crying," Patricia Smalls said. "When I got home I parked in my driveway and started crying and said, 'Please, Lord, take this away from me. I cannot move on. My family cannot move on."

Merkel Smalls' family said he was well-loved. The family gathered with the Justice Coalition and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Wednesday to announce the $5,000 reward.

"We used to do a lot of things together, but now Merkel is gone and now we don't have no fun times with him no more, and now I miss Uncle Merkel so badly," said Cameron McClain, Merkel Small's nephew. "I wish he could come back."

Anyone with any information about the killing is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.

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