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'Happy tears from heaven' l Community braves rain to honor local fallen soldier at 5K run

Thursday marks fours years since the death of 23-year-old Tyler Smith who was found dead in Galesburg in 2018.

ROCHELLE, Ill. — A family is continuing their fight for answers surrounding the death of a Western Illinois University graduate.

Thursday, Sept. 15 marks fours years since the death of Tyler Smith, 23.

He was found dead in Galesburg back in 2018 after his body was lying in a drainage ditch.

RELATED: 'I will never give up on him' l Remembering Tyler Smith: 3 years later

Tyler's parents, Sandy Halsne and Keith Smith, have been fighting for justice and trying to piece together how their only child died.

The 4th annual Tyler "Smitty" Smith 5K and fundraiser was held, Sunday, Sept. 11, in Tyler's hometown of Rochelle. 

Credit: WQAD

Nearly 200 people turned out despite heavy rain showering over the celebration for the U.S. Army national guardsman.

"It was happy tears from heaven," Halsne said. "It makes us feel very humbled, very blessed. There's a lot of love in this community. It helps this time of the year go really well to know that Tyler's loved."

Money raised during the activities will be given back to the community through scholarships, military/police-related functions and schools. 

Credit: WQAD

"It just keeps Tyler's memory alive and the purpose that he wanted in life," Halsne said. "Maybe his purpose here on earth is done, but his purpose is still going."

People from across the country were also part of the race in-person or from their home state. 

Illinois State Police has an active ongoing investigation surrounding the case.

RELATED: Timeline of events: The investigation of Tyler Smith's death remains ongoing

A reward fund is at around $100,000 for any leads that solves the case.

Anyone with any information on the case is asked to contact Illinois State Police Special Agent Luke Kuehl at 815-632-4010.

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