Jonathan Dotson Sr., 31, was shot and killed Nov. 7, his body left in a New Orleans house that was under construction. Alonia Singleton, a crime-lab technician, had been called out to photograph the crime scene when she recognized the victim's tattoo.
Before Dotson's body was placed in a body bag, Singleton asked if the man had the name "Alonia" tattooed on his chest. He did.
Dotson was not only Singleton's ex-boyfriend; he was also the father of her child.
"I started backing up," Singleton said at Dotson's funeral, the Times-Picayune reports. "It was like this heavy weight. I kept not believing it."
According to the Times-Picayune, Dotson and Singleton met in high school and dated for about five years. He was the father of her 8-year-old son.
Singleton said that when she realized the slain man was her child's father, she drove to Dotson's mother's home to deliver the crushing news.
"I didn't cry because I really didn't believe it," the victim's mother, Sheila Dotson, told the newspaper.
Dotson's current girlfriend, Likera Lee, told the newspaper that Dotson was an actor who had been working at several restaurants in the area. He had just finished filming a role in A Quiet Storm, an independent movie, in which he played a shooting victim.
"It's a surreal blurring of reality and fiction," the film's writer and director, Jason Affolder, said of Dotson's death, the Times-Picayune reports.
New Orleans police have not released information regarding motive or possible suspects in Dotson's death, but his mother made it clear that she doesn't want any brand of vigilante justice in her son's name. "I don't want retaliation," Sheila Dotson told the newspaper. "The person who did it has to deal with that. I love my son and I'll miss him. He didn't deserve to die like that."
Read more at the Times-Picayune.