NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Two years after a 31-year-old Newport News man with a disability was found dead in the crawls pace of a vacant house, his family, friends and neighbors are holding a march in his honor.
The gruesome discovery was made on December 14, 2019, the day after Andre Grady, who used a wheelchair, was reported missing by his mother, LaTonya Grady. Police were called to the 800 block of 24th Street after a community search team made the discovery.
"Still is hard every day to wake up knowing he’s not there, never coming back. Will never get over it," she said.
LaTonya says Andre died from blunt force trauma and that the seatbelt of his wheelchair had been cut. She recalls the terrible rainstorm the night he went missing.
“He only had the use of one arm and his mouth, and to beat him and throw him under a house, discard him as trash, that’s what hurts the most. But, like I said, I still have to live daily and my goal is through living daily is to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” LaTonya said.
She said her son had been in a wheelchair most of his life after being shot during a drive-by shooting when he was just 5 years old. She said despite his handicap, he remained positive and was determined to be independent.
"It never stopped him from being a beautiful person. That’s why we always called him ‘Love on Wheels,’" she said. "His thing was, ‘Look at me in a wheelchair. If I can do it, you can do it.’ He loved everybody."
Officials say Andre was well known and it wouldn’t have been "uncommon” for him to be in that area. His mother said he recently got a new house with a family member in the area.
LaTonya says police have not made an arrest, and a new detective has been assigned to the case.
"I pray for their souls that did do it," she said.
Anyone with information on Andre's death is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887).
The public is invited to attend the march that will go a few blocks from where he was discovered to the site where his family has a memorial tree and plaque in his honor. The starting address is the parking lot in the 800 block of 24th Street.