NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Police are investigating what they're calling a "heinous" crime after friends and family found a missing man dead in the crawl space of an empty house Saturday morning— it was all captured on a Facebook Live video.
Officials responded to the 800 block of 24th Street to investigate just before 10 a.m. Upon arrival, an adult male was located and was pronounced deceased by medics.
The deceased has been identified as 31-year-old Andre Grady of Newport News. During a press conference on December 16, police confirmed Grady's cause of death as blunt force trauma. They're still processing the crime scene, according to Chief Drew.
Police believe this is an isolated incident and right now, they aren’t ruling out that there could be multiple people involved in Grady’s death. Officials also say Grady was well known and it wouldn’t have been "uncommon” for him to be in that area.
David Wilson is a well-known community organizer in the Newport News area and he started a search party with Grady’s friends and family after Grady’s mother reached out to him for help. They had no idea the search would take a tragic turn within a matter of minutes.
Wilson helped gather a group of about 20 people Saturday morning when word got out that Grady was missing. He recorded the search efforts on Facebook Live— the video has since been taken down. At the time, they were optimistic and wanted to show family members love and support.
"Our mind-frame was hopefully we'll get out here and then get a call later from his mom saying 'hey, Dre's at home', you know," explained Wilson.
Ten minutes after the search party began canvasing the area the worst-case scenario came became a reality. Grady uses a wheelchair and a member of the search party found tracks leading to the back of an empty house.
"This board was actually over the hole and then another girl kicked it down... we just looked in there and I thought I saw a shoe because it’s dark in there... and I just got closer and looked and you could see both feet and legs," says Wilson.
Grady’s loss it felt by many who say he was a father, who was funny and charismatic.
"A lot of people in the community know and love Dray you know so to find him like that you know it’s a mystery why someone would do it," says Wilson.
The investigation remains ongoing.
If you have any information that can help police call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.