Unsolved Crime Still Devastates Two Years Later

6-12-06 - A Bryan County family is asking for help, two years after their son was violently attacked. The family is now struggling to provide medical care after the state cut off funds for his rehabilitation.

Early this morning Jackie Coker, armed with flyers, hit the streets. By noon he collected nearly $300 and other donations for his son Aaron.

Jackie Coker, the father of victim, said, "He's done more than they ever thought he could. He's a miracle, he really is."

Doctors didn't have too much hope for Aaron Coker after he was found on a Bryan County road next to his wrecked car on August 15, 2004. At first it looked like Aaron crashed into a tree, but his injuries weren't consistent with an accident and detectives found a possible weapon, a hammer, at the scene.

Investigators believe Aaron was run off the road, robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Despite the odds, Aaron woke up, but every day is a struggle.

Aaron had to learn to walk again, and he's still learning to talk. But just as his recovery picked up the Cokers learned they were being dropped.

"We did get a grant from the state of Texas, but those funds are exhausted."

Aaron has been in Texas nearly two years and recently moved into a rehabilitation center in Anna. The state picked up the tab for six months, but their funds have been exhausted. Now the family will have to foot the rest of bill.

Donna Coker, a family member, said, "He would have to be put in an assisted living or a nursing home, and he's only 29 years old. That's no life for a young man."

Services in Oklahoma are also limited, so the Cokers are doing what they can to keep their son in the rehab center of their choice.

"As long as he's progressing, I've got to keep him there, I do, I really have to."

The Highway Patrol says Aaron's attack is still an open case. They are investigating. For more on information on how to help the Coker family, call 580-931-0927.

According to the Traumatic Neurologic Injury Advisory Council in Oklahoma, an estimated 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from a traumatic brain injuries, resulting in 50,000 deaths. In Oklahoma, an average of 2,900 people are hospitalized and 800 die from a traumatic brain injury a year. Most of the injuries in Oklahoma are caused by falls, motor vehicle crashes, and assaults.