Mother travels from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma City, offers $10K reward to find son’s killer

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A mother said she'll do whatever it takes to find her son's killer, even if it means driving from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma City and offering a $10,000 reward.

21-year-old Malek Higginbotham lost his life when he was shot in December of 2017.

"There's nothing on this earth that can add up to the love that him and I had," said his mom, Layisha Higginbotham-Bland.

Bland said the distance doesn't matter - she'll do whatever it takes to find who took her son's life.

"All I want you to do is take responsibility for what you've done so that we can move forward," Bland said. "That's it."

Bland said her son worked two jobs and was never the type to get into trouble. She said he was actually helping his girlfriend's mother move when he was shot. It happened in the 3900 block of Southeast 48th Street in Oklahoma City.

Bland said Malek's girlfriend's mother has a theory on what may have happened. She believes the shooter was in her truck.

"What she had assumed to have happened is, when he went outside, someone was in the truck and he might have spooked them," Bland said. "I don't know when the person turned around, they pulled the gun on him and he stared started to run; they shot him in his back."

Bland then rushed to find a flight to be by her son's side.

Not long after - she got the call. It was too late.

"I just broke down, and I was like, no, this could not have happened," Bland said.

The young man she said everyone loved - suddenly gone.

"He was just doing what he was supposed to," Bland said. "He wasn't in a gang, wasn't in a whole bunch of mess. He was a typical 21-year-old."

As the days passed without answers - she and her family sprung into action - saving up money for a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.

"We saved, put back, didn't spend," Bland said.

The only clue they have is a photo Malek's girlfriend shot as the suspect ran away.

Bland said it's not the most clear image - but she's hopeful someone will see it and know who it is.

"Please," she said. "I need some closure. His spirit needs to rest so, please, if anyone knows anything, please come forward."

Bland said she's not only fighting for her son but other innocent victims.

"There's so many other Maleks - innocent people, innocent young kids that are losing their lives behind gun violence, so I'm trying to do whatever I can because I don't want his death to be in vain," Bland said.

If you have any information, call the homicide tip line at 405-297-1200.

The family is in the process of setting up a GoFundMe page. If they are able to raise more money, they will raise the reward.

Malek's mother and other members of the family handed out flyers all over Oklahoma City.

This weekend, they will have a vigil in his honor at the home where he was shot.

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