ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — On June 4, 2019, Kate Brown, 33 and Carnell Sledge, 44, were shot and killed near a park bench at the Rocky River Reservation.
Their bodies were discovered shortly after 5 p.m. FBI Cleveland officials said the office has followed up on several investigative leads; however, the case remains unsolved.
What You Need To Know
- Carnell Sledge and Kate Brown were shot and killed in 2019
- Before he died, Carnell Sledge wanted to start a foundation to help others
- His mother and friend are continuing his legacy with Sledges Helping Hands
While they wait for justice, family and friends of Sledge look to continue the legacy he began during his 44 years of life.
“I’ve got tons and tons of photos," Darla Sledge said as she looked at photos of her son just days before the two-year anniversary of his death.
By all accounts, Carnell Sledge was just one of those people always putting others before himself.
“He always wanted everyone that was in his company to be okay,” Darla Sledge said. “If you weren’t having a good day, he’d sit and talk to
you, ask you what’s going on. Is there anything I can do to help?"
In fact, much of his work focused on helping children. He worked with Applewood Centers, which provides mental health and social services, education, foster care and adoption for children and families in northeast Ohio.
He was "Coach Sledge" to the kids and adults at Empower Sports, a program that allows anyone, no matter their abilities, to play sports.
“It just warms my heart that he touched so many people," Darla said. "That’s the kind of guy he was.”
Before he died, Carnell began to talk about a foundation he wanted to launch to help children further. He shared this vision with many people, including his mother and his friend, Alyssa Miller.
“He was in the middle of working on it," Miller said as she held up Carnell's original mission statement, which she had gotten laminated.
“Kids can come from different backgrounds and different lifestyles but deal with the same problems," Miller read. "Wherever your path in life takes you, know that you will always have a helping hand.”
He called it "Sledges Helping Hands.” The early vision of his foundation would become his legacy.
“This was his ultimate vision,” Miller said. “He wanted to purchase vehicles, he wanted to have a building. Help out kids. That was his passion.”
She felt he shared his plans with her for a reason.
“I feel like the plan is bigger than we understand,” Miller said. “And I’m in a position where I can take his lessons and the things that he has learned and shared with me and use them to help kids.”
Carnell created a logo complete with his hand print — a reminder today that he was always there to lend a hand, reach out and lift up those around him.
“When he talked about doing this foundation some years ago, I thought to myself — I didn’t say it to him, but I thought — ‘people do this after they have passed on, foundations are run,’” Darla Sledge said. “Did he know? I don’t think he knew what was going to happen, but that’s the kind of person he was. He wanted to leave a legacy. Something that Carnell Sledge did to touch lives.”
Sledges Helping Hands is still in its early stages. It was put on hold through the pandemic. But they’ve managed to put together baskets for under privileged children, and sold plaques Carnell carved out of wood before he died.
“We can only carry it on as best as we can,” Miller said. “We’ll never be able to do what he did. But we can do our best.”
Darla and Alyssa are hopeful that they will soon know who took Carnell’s life.
“I want to be around to see justice for my son. I do," said Darla. “I just miss him so much. But he’s right here in my heart. He’s right here. So I carry that with me, and that’s what keeps me going.”
The FBI is still looking for information that could lead to the arrest and conviction for the person responsible for the deaths of Carnell Sledge and Kate Brown.
Tips may be provided to the Cleveland Division of the FBI at 216-622-6842 or Crime Stoppers at 216-252-7463. Reward money as much as $100,000 is available for information leading to the successful identification and prosecution of the person responsible.
For more information on Carnell’s foundation, visit its website.