KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Family gathered, candles were lit and cake was served. Corey Laykovich's 23rd birthday had everything, except Corey.
The soft-spoken computer science student from Independence was found lying in his bed with a mysterious stab wound in July. His case remains unsolved, and leads have gone cold, his mother says.
That's why on Saturday, Laykovich's family threw a birthday party-cum-fundraiser to raise money for a reward fund, now hovering around $5,000, to encourage anyone who has information about Corey's death to come forward.
"The one place that should have been safe ... Was the one place that he died at. And I need that person off the streets," Corey's mother Michelle Metje told 41 Action News.
"I need to know that no one else's child is going to be taken by this person," she said.
Some 30 friends and family gathered for the event at the Woodsweather Cafe in West Bottoms. Owner Mark Anderson said he would donate 70 percent of the money taken in tonight to the fund, on top of any donations given.
If Corey's killer or killers are caught without the reward money being spent the money will go instead to the Midwest Transplant Network.
Corey's family chose to donate his organs after his death, and now takes great pride and comfort in the knowledge that his death saved five other lives.
"I have to believe that for every person mourning for Corry there's another person celebrating for those five people and that he's their miracle," Metje said.