Justice 4 Justin NOW

$5,334 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 5 months
Created January 24, 2018
Justice for Justin NOW


Be Brave, Speak Loud, Seek Truth

Justin was 20 years old when his life ended tragically.  

His parents received the call all parents dread. The call  that shakes you to the core.  The call that drops you on your knees and makes you wonder if you'd ever wake up from this nightmare.  The call where the person at the other end of the phone  tells you "He is not doing well...He is in the ICU".  That call came in on November 16, 2017.  His parents flew across country and continents to find their son intubated and on life support.  Justin died from severe brain damage on November 18, 2017.  

At 20, Justin was a young man full of potential, chasing after life, and learning lessons through trial and error. His big smile and larger-than-life attitude made heads turn. As great as he was, he was not perfect. While navigating through the ever-challenging transition to adulthood, he made a mistake. This particular mistake landed him in jail on a marijuana-related conviction.  He  took responsibility for this mistake and was serving his time.  This charge did not define him, or cause his loved ones to care any less about him. It certainly was not, and should not have been the death sentence that it was.  

The State of Oklahoma where he died while in custody, did not perform an autopsy on Justin. It does not appear they conducted any meaningful investigation on the circumstances of his death, which they are refusing to release to the family.  Countless people die in jail while in custody, many under suspicious circumstances, and some for reasons that will never be known. In Oklahoma, that seems to be a reoccurring theme. A quick Internet search under “death in Oklahoma jails” will return dozens of results.

There are many media reports of suspicious deaths in Oklahoma jails and the ACLU of Oklahoma has been pushing for accountability and reform. Public officials seem to be indifferent to the widespread problem. The links below will show you the obstacles his family is facing; there is still much to be done.

Justin Thao was a son, brother, nephew, cousin and friend. This beautiful human being was killed in an Oklahoma jail under circumstances that are still uncertain. Officials have not allowed his family to obtain any information, including their request to have the family’s forensic pathologist examine the cell he was allegedly in at the time of his discovery. Justin, like many who died of suspicious jail death, was found 'unresponsive.'  

Everyone who knew Justin does not believe that he would commit suicide. While incarcerated, he talked to his family daily and he wrote about the dreams and future he looked forward to once being released. Not only do we owe it to Justin to find out what really happened, but to countless others who have died without a voice. The family has paid a private forensic pathologist to do an autopsy, and the findings remain unclear and suspicious due to the obstacles barring them from pursuing their quest for justice.   Legal assistance to dig deep into this murky water and further investigation will be necessary.  It can only be done with your support.

Please help the JUSTICE FOR JUSTIN fund in furtherance of all of our human rights.  Support this effort to bring Justice for Justin and in turn, Justice for the voiceless.  Let's hold those responsible for his death accountable.  Transparency is paramount.   

This can only be done with your generous donation, where every dollar counts.  If you cannot donate, your help is still needed for our petition, where every signature matters to demand a probe into the investigation or lack of investigation into Justin's death. 

Please like and follow Justin's story on:



Media about jail death in Oklahoma: 





Thank you.

- this GOFUNDME is created by Jon Thao on behalf of May Kou Heu, my mother for my brother Justin Thao #Justice4Justin
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This update is grim.

The information is disturbing to say the least. The callousness of the jailers is unspeakable and atrocious.

Justin, we heard your cries for help.

We heard you just wanted to go home to California.


We are crying for you. For the pain you suffered. For the inhumane way they treated you.

I felt so lost not knowing what happened to you. I still feel lost because there are still so many unknowns.

At first, I feared that you might have been so scared and alone against the brutes that have become the animals living in the cage that they placed you in. I cried because I did not know how helpless you must have been.

Now I cry because my worst fear is the reality you lived through.

I hear you, son, I feel your pain, your anguish, your cry for help. I hear you. I hear you and I am so sorry I was not there to help you. I cry because you were helpless and powerless. I cry because they stole your life away from us. I cry because I feel helpless and powerless.

Justin, this much you already know, as I hear you in your last hours: we will fight for you, fight to find JUSTICE 4 JUSTIN, to find you peace. You knew you would not survive these last few hours and you left us with information that you knew will be needed. You knew we would not give up on you. You were so brave, my son, so brave

I love you Justin

your mother, May Kou

- Please continue to support our cause. Our journey is far from over. It has barely began. It seems to be an uphill battle, but the " journey of a thousand miles begins with one step" and one step at a time it will be
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Things have not been going as smoothly as the family would have hoped. For every step forward you make, you are being pushed several steps back.

The family is requesting many things from the state to release what they know will show what happened to Justin, through the Freedom of Information Act.

"What is FOIA?
Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement."

The FOIA exemptions and exclusions for law enforcement in this case are no longer relevant, because there is no ongoing investigation, no confidential informant involved, or any other reasons.

The only reasonable explanation for lack of transparency from the state then would be because there is something to hide, plain and simple.

Please help the family in their effort to bring light to the surface. This can only come from working with knowledgeable attorneys with all the tools they will require to penetrate the walls of this fortress that is protecting the state instead of protecting the citizens that have been silenced.

Here is a case that a family has continued to work on to find who killed their loved ones, since 1995, in Oklahoma. Some photos may be graphic.


Justin's family would like to find closure soon.

Please support Justin's family. Donate what you can. There is no amount too small. Every dollar counts.

Thank you
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Grady county jail, Oklahoma:
1. Release the tapes!
Let us see how Justin was lead to his death!
2. Showers in cells? Really? We want to see how true that is
3. Let our pathologist do his job. If Justin tried to commit suicide, let him see the scene, so we can understand
4. We want answers. We want peace of mind and peace for Justin
5. We want #Justice4Justin
Justin was full of life and loved by so many people
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Thank you for all those who have supported our cause, and those who have stopped by this page. If you are still on the fence, thinking whether or not this is worthy, here is an update.

Justin may be "just another kid who died in prison/jail." But he was our kid. Even if he was 'just another kid" he was still someone's kid. He was loved by all those whose lives he's touched. He was someone important in our lives. His death has left a void that can never be replaced. But every time we feel that void, we know he is with us. That's only proof that we are alive and that he mattered to us. And today, he still matters.

UPDATE: THE OKLAHOMA medical examiner did not order an autopsy on AN IN-CUSTODY DEATH. Why? We don't. They told us this is only 'a paper case', they will only review the medical records and make their determination of his death based on that...
His cause of death at the time of his death was pretty clear cut. His death was due to severe brain damage. His brain herniated because there was so much swelling in his healthy young brain, and there was no space for the swelling but to push the brain down the foramen magnum as it is the only space to go, the path of least resistance...

What we don't know is how Justin received such severe brain damage. And that too has not been revealed to us. There are cameras in the jail. There are guards. There are witnesses. But no one is coming forward. No records is being released. Why?

The medical examiner's office for whatever reason, has not completed their report. Justin's death certificate was not only finalized and signed in a matter of days, but the report is not ready? What are they doing?

That is why we need your support. Every dollar matters because we need expert help to get through the layers and layers of bureaucracy that the government of Oklahoma is trying to drown us in.

Every dollar matters because for each step forward we make, the state will put ten more barricades in front of us.

We have attorneys who have finally taken a look into our cause, and Justin's case. Maybe we are making small ripples, so we will continue to push forward.

Your money will help us pay for not only the attorneys to help us with our case, but also the private investigators and whatever else we may need along the way. We are not attorneys. We don't know all that we will need. But we know that IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN DAVID TO BEAT GOLIATH.

Thank you again for your support,



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$5,334 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 65 people in 5 months
Created January 24, 2018
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