FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -
A Fayetteville native's unsolved murder is at the heart of an art exhibit that debuted Friday night.
Chris Ortega grew up in Fayetteville. He moved to Asheville in 2007 and died in October of 2013. A few weeks later police ruled his death a homicide.
Since then, his mother Marianne Ortega has been working to organize an exhibition of her son’s work in the Fayetteville area where she and the rest of Chris’s immediate family still live.
The Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery on Gillespie Street agreed to show Chris’s work in an exhibit that opened to the public during Fayetteville’s First Friday events. They have been familiar with Chris since he was a student at Douglas Byrd High School.
After high school Ortega went to UNC-Pembroke where he graduated with honors. Marianne Ortega said he was pursuing music and art professionally in Asheville and was on display in a few spots around town.
His death remains a mystery, with very little clues and not much progress since November. At this point there is only evidence that Chris suffocated.
So Marianne Ortega hopes the exhibit not only honors her son but keeps his case in people's minds.
“I’m just hoping [the attention] will bring somebody forward that knows something and can say ‘Yeah I heard so-and-so talking,’ because I’m sure eventually somebody’s going to talk,” she said. “That’s the only way I’ll get any closure is if this is finished, and I’ll know I did him justice let’s just say.”
Marianne Ortega said people have distributed hundreds of flyers in the Asheville area, also in hopes of getting a lead in the case.