Family, friends hold New Year's Eve vigil for murdered yo-yo champion

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- One New Year’s Eve night, loved ones and friends of Nathan DeWitt gathered to honor his memory and raise awareness about his unsolved murder Christmas night.

“He did not deserve it whatsoever,” said Codi Johnston, his girlfriend of nearly four years.  “He was so loved, and loved all of us.”

DeWitt moved to Phoenix last year from Washington State. Despite his young age, just 23, he was well known and honored in the yo-yo community, a skill he loved and loved to share.  DeWitt was named Pacific Northwest yo-yo champion in 2005.

“You could just see the smile on his face and the glow in his eyes when he played with the yo-yo, especially in front of kids when he was able to teach them new tricks” Johnston said.  “He was amazing to watch.”

Loved ones describe DeWitt as a kind and gentle soul who brought joy to everyone who knew him.

Family and friends say they don’t know who would have targeted DeWitt or why, and they’re not sure where he was in the hour leading up to the shooting on Christmas night. Detectives believed he may have been at a party.

Police say DeWitt crashed his SUV on North 28th Street, near Michigan, just before midnight Dec. 25. Neighbors say a good Samaritan who witnessed the crash rushed out to help and discovered DeWitt had a gunshot wound. He later died at the hospital.

One week later, loved ones just want answers and closure.

“We want the person who has done this to such a wonderful human being, just 23 years old, to turn themselves in,” said Tracy Bisig, among those at the vigil Monday night.