News 13 Exclusive: Bryson's wife, sons discuss forgiveness in wake of murder

Lynn Bryson, Tommy Bryson's widow, speaks exclusively with News 13 on Tuesday, August 1, after her sons held a press conference thanking the community for their support and help finding Tommy. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Tommy Bryson's family members still have many questions in the wake of his death, but they aren't wavering in their faith.

"I have never, since the very beginning, felt hate for Mr. Stroupe," Lynn Bryson, Tommy's wife, told News 13.

A family that relied on strong Christian faith during the search for Tommy is now demonstrating it. That's especially true when referring to accused killer, Phillip Michael Stroupe II.

"We definitely pray for Mr. Stroupe, that God can touch his soul," son Joey Bryson said.

"I don't want to keep hate in my heart because that leads to bad things," son Rick Bryson added.

Authorities believe Stroupe kidnapped and killed Tommy while Stroupe was on the run from authorities last week. His body was found in a corn field in Arden on Sunday.

Now, family members are left with a hole in their lives where a grandfather, father and husband once stood.

"Tommy was my life -- my whole life," Lynn said of her late husband. "We did nothing apart."

"He was our hero. He was our role model," Joey added. "Everything we know about everything came from him and our mother."

During a news conference at Mills River United Methodist Church, the victim's sons thanked the community for prayers, support and search efforts, which ended when a cousin found Tommy in Arden. The cornfield where his body was found is now a memorial to a beloved family man who leaves a legacy of faith.

"I pray that families in this country would have a father like ours," Rick said.

A vigil for Tommy Bryson is planned on Wednesday along Boylston Highway, from South Mills River Road to Westfeldt Park, starting at 8:45 p.m.

Tommy Bryson's memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church at 312 5th Avenue W in Hendersonville.

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