His father was convicted of his mother’s murder. 40 years later, he’s telling his own side of the story

In “The Day My Mother Never Came Home,” author Reginald Reed Jr. takes readers through his experience of losing his mother at 6 to the day his father was found guilty.

By Kristen CabreraJune 25, 2024 3:06 pm, ,

It’s something one can hardly imagine: The murder of a loved one. The case goes cold until decades later the justice system points the finger at someone else you love.

It’s  Reginald Reed Jr.’s story. 

At just 6 years old he lost his mother to a brutal murder that went unsolved until 2019 when his father was arrested and charged with orchestrating her killing. 

For Reed, the shock of losing both parents proved a heavy burden to bear. To help with that burden, he has written a memoir entitled “The Day My Mother Never Came Home.”

Reed joined Texas Standard to talk about growing up with his father, what he remembers about his mother, and moving through the trauma 40 years in the making. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:

Texas Standard: Well, let’s talk about your mother. You were only 6, but what can you tell us about her?

Reginald Reed Jr.: You know, people, family and friends have shared with me that it was very rare to see her without me. I was her pride and joy. I was her world.

You know, one of the things that I took from her is baking. She was a big baker. She always was baking a pie or a cake or something like that. And few months ago, my son and I, he’s 4. We bake some brownies together – you know, nothing fancy. It’s kind of just box stuff or whatever.

I wouldn’t say I’m a gourmet baker or anything like that, but that’s one thing I took from my mother. And, you know, I wish I had more memories of her, but just what I remember is that her world revolved around me.

Well, sound like wonderful memories. It’s really hard to imagine what all you and your family have gone through. What was the need to put this on to words?

It has been a roller coaster of a ride and emotions. Ever since my mother was brutally murdered at the age of 6, my dad raised me. He was there by my side the remaining of my childhood and my adult life as well. And it just got to the point where the case went cold. We kind of just moved on with our life.

Fast forward to 2019. My father was indicted – which was a total shocker, if you can imagine, to me and my family – for the murder of my mother. And at that point, I felt that the only way I can combat this situation is to tell my side of the story, you know? Because at that time, once the news broke, it was negativity – just negative all the way around. Especially nowadays with social media – everybody, they want to latch on to something, especially negative stuff, and put their $0.02 in. And I say the only way I can share my side is to write a book.

You know, this is my first book. I’m not an author. Actually, it’s ironic that I really didn’t like to read growing up, and I actually wrote a book. So I just felt it was a outlet. It was twofold. It ended up being very cathartic for me, a healing process, and also a way to get my side of the story out.

Well, the way you write about everything chronologically… I mean, were you writing during this time your thoughts and your emotions? I feel very in the moment.

Yes, and that was the goal. That was the goal – to keep it as real as possible so future readers could really take a moment and step into my shoes, if you will, and really try to understand what I was experiencing and going through.

So once the indictment took place, that’s when I started writing. You know, I went past tense – talked about my childhood, talked about my upbringing, all the way up until the trial, which occurred in [November of 2022].

So those years before your father was eventually arrested, how do you describe that time?

You know, it was rough in the initial stages after my mother was murdered – just basically getting adjusted to the new norm of life. But it was very untraditional. And what I mean by that, it was just my dad and I. We kind of operated like brothers as I got older, as he got older.

It never was dinners at the table. It never really was summer vacations, because he was a businessman, entrepreneur. You know, he continued to be the father, as well, and try to provide for me as his only son. And things were just… I won’t say discombobulated, but it just wasn’t the traditional family-style upbringing that one would hope for.

I come from a very large family. My dad was one of, I think, 16 kids. So every time we got together for holidays or maybe a birthday, grandparent’s birthday or something, I always felt like him and I were the oddballs of the family because everybody else, they showed up, you know? The husband and wife and the kids and so forth. And him and I, it’d just be him and I.

Just the two of you.

Yeah, and sometimes I’d just feel awkward, you know? I had to just adjust.

So Reggie, take us through the moment the jury read the verdict and what about what’s next for your family as you look ahead?

During this process, law enforcement shared a video of me where I was, 6 years old, and it basically was an interview with law enforcement a month after the murder. And I was just in the room, the detective was sitting on the floor just asking me questions, trying to get me comfortable.

Well, when the jury read the verdict, acknowledging that my father was found guilty for the murder of my mother, I found myself just kind of replaying my initial preparation of “don’t lock my knees, don’t lock my knees, don’t lock my knees.” And when that verdict came down, you know, the courtroom was silent. And I was just stunned for maybe a minute or so.

And then the attorney waved me up and said, “hey, you want to come say bye to your dad?” And that was the moment where I found myself back in the body of that 6-year-old boy, just crying out loud,  saying, “I want my dad, I want my dad, and I want my dad.”

That that was the same reaction I had in that video I was talking about earlier. As the detective was asking me questions and questions, I got to a moment where I became very emotional. And that same reaction happened when my dad was found guilty.

As far as the future, you know, it’s another adjustment that has to be made. I am blessed to have a beautiful wife, a 4-year-old son, and we have a new addition to the family. She’s actually five months now, and her name is Selonia, which is my mother’s name. So it’s basically the beginning of a new life for my mother, and just for our family, and just to continue to move forward and just make this situation as positive as we can.

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