It was even harder to cope when they learned the accused was a longtime family friend.
Relatives grew worried when no one heard from the gregarious 58-year-old who would normally reach out to family members every day.
When relatives went to his apartment Monday night, they found his body.
The accused, longtime family friend Rodney M. Powell, 46, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing.
"It would have been hard just to think it was a random attack but to know that it was someone that we trusted, that has been in our presence for years, makes this... it makes it hard to even realize it was real," said Chelsea Higgs Wise, niece of uncle "Click."
Wise was in court for Wednesday afternoon for Powell's arraignment.
"It's confusing, I'm enraged, I'm glad he was on the screen and not in person, but today was really about showing up for Click," said Wise.
For those related to the 58-year-old, he was everything.
"When I think about Click, I think about our Family," Wise added.
In fact, it may have been family members who helped solve the case.
"We immediately looked around and saw that there was a certain person missing, of our friends and we immediately looked at his social media, on Rodney's social media and saw that there was basically a confession about what a great loss had happened."
Wise says that post was made before her uncle's body was found.
"We screenshoted that and gave it to police," she added.
There is no word on a motive in the homicide.
Powell is being held behind bars without bond. He has been given a court-appointed attorney and is due back in court on February 26.
Police are asking that anyone who has any information about this incident to contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or through the P3 app.