KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A family is looking for answers after their loved one was discovered dead in an East Knoxville alley with at least one gunshot wound.

Police on Tuesday identified the man as 27-year-old Joseph Hines. Investigators are still trying to find out what exactly happened to Hines, but in the meantime, his family is grieving.

Hines’ family wants the community to know that this wasn’t just a random person found in an alley. This was a brother, nephew and cousin who was loved and will be missed dearly.

“I haven’t even really accepted it, I keep thinking there’s going to be a call and they’re going to say they were wrong, that it wasn’t him,” said Rebecca Lane, Hines’ cousin.

It’s been a tough year for this family. Joseph died a few weeks before the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death.

Until they get the answers they seek they’re holding on to the good memories of Joseph who they describe as a fun, loving man who liked to cook and enjoyed spending time with his family.

“He was a very sweet person,” said Cierra Moulden, Hines’ sister. “He was really funny. Really funny. He could light up a room with just a smile.”

Even though the circumstances in which Hines was found were grim, the family is hoping for the best possible outcome. His uncle Charles Moulden says he’s hoping it was a case of Joseph just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“We want to hope and pray that God is going to intervene on this,” Moulden said. “A lot of people jump to conclusions and end up being wrong in the end.”

Waiting for the Police Department to conclude its investigation will be agonizing, but they say they’re willing to wait, so long as Joseph isn’t forgotten.

“I just pray that they will remember that to us he was somebody,” Lane said. “He was our brother, our cousin, our nephew, and I pray that it doesn’t just fall to the wayside; that there is footwork put in to try to bring some closure and find out what happened and why.”

KPD’s Violent Crimes Unit is investigating Hines’ death, but they do not have any suspect information available at this time. They’re asking for anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

There are four ways you can get anonymous information to Crime Stoppers. You can call 865-215-7165, go online at, via the free mobile app, P3 Tips, or on the East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers Facebook page.

Keep breaking news and weather alerts at your fingertips. Download the WATE 6 News and Weather apps.