MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds of people will fill a central Minnesota gym on Friday to honor a murdered college student by watching the high school sport he loved. It’s been five years since Tom Bearson was killed.

No arrests have ever been made in the North Dakota State University freshman and Sartell native’s death.

Technology advancements could change that.

No matter how many years pass, the holidays are especially hard on the Bearson’s. When Greg and Debbie again face an empty space.

“We just miss our son horribly. We wish he was with us and so do so many people,” Greg Bearson said.

“We try to honor him, talk about him, that kind of thing,” Debbie Bearson said. “It’s just a hole. It’s hard.”

A standout Sartell basketball player, Tom Bearson went missing in September of 2014. A month after he moved to Fargo for college at NDSU.

Three days later, his body was found in an R-V parking lot in Moorhead. Details on his death have been scarce ever since. But, we’ve learned Tom died of asphyxiation. Something his parents are now addressing publicly.

“We always knew it was going to get out at some point and so now that it’s out ther. We are hopeful that information can lend itself to helping the case,” Greg said.

Police have indicated his cause of death could mean Tom’s murder is personal.

“It’s heart breaking to know you couldn’t be there to help your son,” Debbie said.

His parents have said before it’s likely their son was killed by someone he knew.

“And then you have to ask yourself what kind of person can do that and what kind of person can do that and still be walking around today?” Greg said.

The Bearson’s admit that has been hardest. No answers and still they say the last people who were with Tom that night haven’t cooperated with police.

“You have to ask yourself the question why are they unwilling to cooperate?” Greg asked.

Recently, Tom’s parents are hanging on to new hope as breakthroughs in criminal investigations are happening fast.

“There are new technologies available that we believe will be very, very helpful to this case,” Greg said.

At this point, they won’t say more. Only that they’re confident of the work police are doing.

“I think that’s something we’ve been able to do and that’s to learn to be patient,” Greg said.

Giving back has helped. They’ve raised nearly $200,000 through a foundation in Tom’s name for college scholarships and youth basketball programs. On Friday, the community will gather again for a Hoopin’ in Heaven Tommy B night. Wearing their green while remembering the young man whose life mattered to so many.

“Faithfully, we’re going to see that Tom gets justice. No matter how long that takes” Greg added.

Moorhead Police told WCCO this a very active case. Investigators recently met with the Bearson’s in the Sartell area to provide an update. Police would not comment on whether the last people to see Tom alive have cooperated.

Liz Collin

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