Murder Mystery: Bryce Cheney was a 'gentle giant'

TACOMA— It has been 14 years since 19-year old Bryce Cheney from Tacoma was murdered. Bryce may be gone, but he isn’t forgotten and his older brother, Ralph, remembers him as a gentle giant. “He was like a big teddy bear. He’d go up to strangers and give them hugs and would help anybody out that needed help,” Ralph said. Ralph’s wife, Kelly says, “He’d give you a hug and it was one of those ‘Ah’ moments, like you knew that he cared about you. You knew that he loved you,” Ralph’s wife, Kelly said. “He was like my brother, too. We were thick as thieves. We used to get together and gang up on his brother.” They were all so close that Kelly and Ralph even took Bryce on their honeymoon. “We took him with us wherever we went and it turned out we just decided to take him with us on the weekend, too.  So yes, he spent our honeymoon with us,” she said. But in the early morning hours of June 8, 1998, everything changed. Tacoma police detective Gene Miller with said that Bryce and his father had been out delivering newspapers. They arrived home around 4:30 a.m. to find a prowler in their backyard. The suspect was looking at a bicycle the family owned. “Dad attempted to verbally confront the suspect, the suspect began to approach him and reached for something which the father perceived to be a weapon. As a result, the father fled into the residence calling for his son to call law enforcement,” Miller said. But Bryce misunderstood and thought his father was calling for help so he went out the back door and ran straight into the suspect. “There was some verbal altercation between Bryce and another male and he struck Bryce,” Miller said. Bryce was stabbed once in the chest and died about an hour later. Ralph still can’t believe it happened. “I try not to remember. I won’t go to my brother’s grave site because it’s too hard for me. It’s hard to do what I’m doing, but I want closure,” Ralph said. “It just seems like it’s such an extreme thing. This guy is going to resort to that level of violence for a bicycle,” Miller said. “Dad was going inside the house. Bryce was coming out to check on dad. All this guy had to do was run and instead he chose to stay and kill somebody.” Kelly Cheney is sad that her kids won’t get a chance to know their uncle. “With him gone, knowing that my kids don’t have him anymore, knowing that my first two were so close to him… But my last two don’t get to know him is heartbreaking.” The suspect is described as a black male in his teens to late-20s at the time of the murder. He is between 5-feet, 7-inches and 5-feet, 10-inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. He had shoulder length, jerry curled hair and was wearing a black or dark-colored starter’s jacket.  The jacket had stripes that could have been reflective on the sleeves. If you know anything about this murder, you’re asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.