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Someone We Shouldn't Forget

I forgot. I tried not to, but it still happened. Every year since 2006, I've tried to make sure to take a moment in November and see if anything new has surfaced. If information has come out of nowhere. If a witness finally came forward. If a detective decided to pick up the cold case and leaf through the file, just to see if anyone missed something. But the news was always the same, if there was any news at all.

And this year, I forgot. I bet you forgot too. "It's been 6 years" you'll say. "It happens." Maybe it does, but it shouldn't. Sean Taylor was murdered 5 years ago and nobody forgets him. Recruits talk about wanting to play like him. Guys who never met him talk about his intensity. His fire. The way he played the game. Sean Taylor has been lifted up to the pantheon of those struck down before their time. He won't be forgotten.

But someone else has been. Someone else whose life ended too early. But everybody forgets. Coaches don't talk about him anymore. Players never bring him up. Recruits don't say they want to be like him.

Maybe it's because he was quiet (but Sean was too). Or because he played a position where it's hard to make the big hits that are replayed again and again. Here's a sad possibility: maybe it's because the team he played on was completely forgettable. Name one memorable thing that happened on the field for the 2006 Hurricanes.

Maybe we forgot because he didn't make it to the NFL. That he never had the chance to provide for his family. That he never walked across the stage and had the opportunity to shake the new NFL commissioner's hand.

But we shouldn't. We should never forget that an active college football player was murdered. Was shot in the head while he was standing in the parking lot of his apartment complex after practice. Detective Michael Dominguez said in 2011 that, "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about this case." We should be saying that.

One week after he was killed, it was ruled a homicide. Five years later, in 2011, detectives say it isn't a cold case. But let's be realistic. There were 8,793 homicides in Miami-Dade County between 1980 and 2008. In 2010, 56% of those were still unsolved.

Bryan Pata's murder is 1 of those 4,842 unsolved homicides.

I'm sorry I forgot Bryan.

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