On a lonely spot in the industrial district where the Little Dry Creek bike path crosses Platte River Drive in northwest Englewood, a hand-engraved metal plate is screwed into a wooden post.
It reads: “JOSEPH MICHAEL HIX — MY FRIEND DIED HERE.”
The little plaque is the only marker commemorating the life of Joe Hix, 32, who was stabbed to death there on Aug. 25, 2020.
Nearly 14 months after the brazen daylight slaying along a busy bike path, no arrests have been made in the case. The nearby homeless camp where Hix stayed has long since been swept by authorities, its former residents scattered.
Much of what remains is intangible: The devastation of Hix’s family. Memories of a brilliant young man, whose descent into darkness broke the hearts of friends once drawn to his magnetic personality. The burning injustice of his unsolved homicide.
“I see him in my dreams almost every night,” said Dean Lockhead, 36, Hix’s older brother. “It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, to my family.”
Englewood police have had little to say about the case. Chief Sam Watson, who took the helm of the department in August, did not respond to an interview request. Instead, a department spokesperson sent a statement:
“This is still an active investigation (on which) the Police Department is focused,” the statement reads in part. “We are still receiving tips, which detectives are diligently working to follow up on. The Englewood Police Department is still seeking any information that will aid in the identification and apprehension of suspect(s).”
But Lockhead said his hope for seeing the case solved is dim. It’s been eight months since he last heard from detectives, he said. Though a nearby security camera captured three people fleeing the scene on bikes, and a $2,000 reward through Metro Denver Crime Stoppers remains available, no one has come forward to identify the killer.
Lockhead said he fears the nature of Hix’s life and the circumstances of his death have made it easy for the world to move on.
“Joe was not a sympathetic victim,” he said. “People see it as a homeless junkie getting killed. But he was so many things — an artist, a caregiver for our mother, and my best friend.”