In the four weeks since her younger brother was found on a grassy patch near Virginia Tech, bloodied and near death, Lauren McCloskey has tried to get back into the land of the living. She's returned to classes at the University of Maryland and is trying to make up work she missed after 18-year-old Brian died.
But every day, McCloskey, who grew up with Brian and their two sisters in Olney, grapples with an uncomfortable truth: "I am really angry because there are really bad people out there, and they are just walking around."
Police in Blacksburg said yesterday that the investigation remains wide open into how Brian J. McCloskey came to suffer what the medical examiner called "multiple blunt force trauma."
Hoping for more leads, police revealed this week that they had impounded a car Nov. 9 as part of the case.
One theory they have been considering from the beginning is that McCloskey was hit by a car after he left a birthday party at an off-campus apartment in the early hours of Nov. 5. Lt. Bruce Bradbery said yesterday that witnesses reported seeing a car driving on the bike path next to where McCloskey was found about 2 a.m.
Bradbery said police are performing tests on the vehicle and awaiting lab results to determine whether there is any evidence. He would not say where the car was from, how police came upon it or whether it has led them to any suspects or witnesses.
"Note that the police department hasn't labeled this a homicide; we are conducting a death investigation," he said.
Lauren McCloskey, 21, who is scheduled to graduate in the spring, said her family is frustrated and anxious turning over so many questions: Why did Brian leave the party without the friends he arrived with? If he was outside alone, why? Who would have wanted to hurt this kind freshman? McCloskey said her brother was angry at her once in his life -- when, as a teenager, she was rude to their mother.
Also this week, her parents, Dawn Powell and Joe McCloskey, announced that they were offering $10,000 for information about Brian's death. People with tips should call the Blacksburg Police Department at 540-961-1150 or 540-961-1819.
The family is strong and close, Lauren said. Her parents are divorced and remarried, and Thanksgivings for her and her siblings usually means a little shuffling. But this year, she said, everyone was under one roof.
"It was important this year," she said, "for us all to be together."