JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It's hard to know what to do with your dreams when your biggest supporter is gone.
“I thought about my music and everything, and I don’t even want to do it without him because it’s like he’s been there the whole entire time," said Jalen Toney, originally from Crystal Springs but now from Atlanta. "I feel like if I stop I know it would be wrong because I know he’ll want me to keep going, but, it’s like, I just don’t know how right now. How I would do it?”
Toney and Dontavius Cooper met when Toney was 14 and they were immediately inseparable. Cooper was an Army man, Toney an aspiring artist.
When Toney, of Crystal Springs, decided to go to Atlanta to chase his ambitions of becoming a rapper and singer, Cooper went with him to help manage his career.
When he went to Afghanistan, he came back early for Toney’s birthday party.
“He was more than my brother, more than my best friend. He was everything in my life,” said Toney of Cooper.
The two drove back to Mississippi together last week so Toney could take care of his grandmother and an ailing aunt. When they got to Jackson, Toney went to Crystal Springs and Cooper went to visit friends.
That’s when everything went wrong.
That night Cooper died. Toney was possibly the last one to talk to him besides his killer. Cooper FaceTimed Toney from a friend’s car roughly 20 minutes before he died.
Toney says he knows who was in that car. He’s talked to that man since Cooper was killed. He has confronted him on his changing stories. What’s more, he’s known him for all these years just like Cooper had.
“I know how he moves and I know he’s lying,” Toney said of their interactions.
He feels like nobody’s listening at Jackson Police Department when he offers up screenshots of text conversations and recordings of phone calls. He’s afraid all he can do is hope they get the right guy.
“I’m praying that they would find him. I hope they do. I pray. I pray they do,” he said.
For Toney, it’s not just that he’ll miss his friend. He’s also thinking of his 5-year-old son, who he calls Z-bug, who has lost his godfather.
“It was his god-dad. Like, my son loved him. Like we loved him. I loved him. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same,” he said.
Jackson police say the case is still very much under investigation.