LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Kerri Harter said her son Cody was full of life, love, and kindness. He was an Air National Guardsman, owned a lawn care business, and loved riding dirt bikes. Sadly, his life ended Saturday night after being stabbed on the side of the highway. He was just 23 years old.
The Harter family held a press conference Sunday afternoon at the Lee's Summit police headquarters.
Cody was found collapsed in the inner median on 291 Highway near the Interstate 470 merger, after drivers reported a man stumbling in traffic around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. He died at the scene.
"I keep waiting for someone to tell me it's not true, that I'm going to wake up from this, but I'm not."
Kerrie Harter struggles to understand why someone killed her son. It's incredibly difficult to come to grips with the loss.
"He was so much joy to us."
Witnesses told police Cody was in traffic and got into an argument with another driver on the shoulder. The fight turned deadly when Cody was stabbed in the chest.
"I can only imagine someone was so upset because he wasn't going fast enough," Kerri surmised. She said Cody drove carefully and kept meticulous track of his gas consumption.
He collapsed on the highway. His family said Good Samaritians who pulled over held his hand and prayed with him while they waited for the paramedics to get there.
"My son did not die alone even though whoever did this, you left him out there to die alone."
The St. Joseph native was in the metro to pick up some equipment for his lawn care business.
"His mower blew up on Friday, so he came down yesterday to pick up a new mower and he was on his way home."
His sister, Kylee, said her brother had the biggest heart.
"He did not deserve this, and we don't deserve the pain that came with it," she said.
He was also a member of the Missouri Air National Guard, served a tour of duty in Iraq and loved racing dirt bikes.
"He spent his weekends at the track and he had so much fun."
Police released a photo of Cody's truck: a maroon 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, extended cab Z71 edition. He had a large, zero turn mower in the bed of the truck at the time of the incident. Police are asking anyone traveling along I-470 Saturday evenight around 7:30 p.m., or anyone that may have seen the victim's truck heading north on 291 from 50-Highway to call Lee's Summit police at (816) 969-1705.
His family is pleading for anyone with information to come forward.
"If you saw anything, even if you think it was nothing, please call. They'll put the pieces together."
Police are looking at surveillance video in the area to ID the suspect and/or the suspect's vehicle.