He had so many talents it would take a novel to write, but I’ll name a few. He was a BMX/MX rider (silver medalist in the Nationals when he was just 13 years old.) He loved fishing, target shooting, UFC, MMA, Skateboarding, paint guns, Go- carting, Roller blading and all extreme sports … so so so much more … sigh … an amazing Chef and loved to eat.
He was an awesome musician. Played flute, piccolo… (1st chair), guitar, marimba, euphonium, piano, clarinet and at 16 was the drummer in his own band called Losers Next Door (LND). He worked two jobs and also graduated H.S. His band was his first love and he turned down an offer to go into the Marines so he could pursue his dream.
He had a longtime girlfriend and wanted to get married. LND went on to open for top bands and eventually were headlining shows playing punk/Christian rock! His nieces called him Uncle-mazing!
He was voted best drummer in 2005 at age 20 and was talking with Sony about a record deal. This brought many fans and many cute girls. All of a sudden he was a rock star!!! But it also brought crazies who wanted him for whatever purpose. He broke up with his fiancée of 4 years after falling for a girl/model who was gorgeous – but a psycho – that was short lived once he realized her violent ways. He was stalked and harassed so bad and once he realized he couldn’t shake her he got a restraining order. She said in front of more than 100 witnesses “if I can’t have you, NO ONE will!”
He ended back up with his girlfriend, Christina, and they were working it out in early June 2005 (pic ^^ taken June 12th) ……. he was dead three weeks later.
On June 24, my mom was admitted to the hospital and the entire family was waiting for Michael to come to the hospital. He never arrived. The doctors said mom was stable and sent us all home to rest. When we got home Michael wasn’t there. We were furious because mom was very sick at the time. We left messages on his cell to no avail. I figured he had gone to a friends to play poker (another talent) to deal with his grandmother’s illness. He was very close to her so it was a big shocker that he didn’t show. At 7:00 a.m. on June 25 we got that knock at the door – you KNOW that sound and will never forget it.
Richmond Homicide Detectives informed us that Michael was dead. He was found at the bottom of a 16 story hotel – below the hall windows. The top window was shattered (double paned glass). The inept cops assumed it was a suicide and we screamed no way. We KNEW it wasn’t because Michael was working at that hotel remodeling and had reason to be there. Not to mention we KNEW our son and he had every reason to live.
During the (surreal) day, friends and family came to stay with us. I don’t remember many details. That day is still surreal, but at 5:30 p.m. the cops (who had made us wait til they did some investigation,) finally told us we could go to the hospital to see mom because there was nothing more we could do at the moment. We rushed to the hospital 25 miles away, and arrived at 6:15 p.m.
When the elevator doors opened my sister was standing there crying. Mom had inadvertently overheard the 6:00 p.m. news and Michael’s report. She flat-lined at 6:19 p.m. 3 mins. after the report was aired.
Surreal doesn’t even cut it.
The following week were autopsies, viewings (Michael was cremated and his urn set next to moms casket), moms funeral and on the following Sunday, 8 days after their deaths, we had his Celebration of Life – where his band played their hit song acoustically. The police showed up to inform us that a multi -jurisdictional grand jury had 57 subpoenas to hand out and that they now believe it was foul play … a homicide! No DUH! I cannot go into details but the consensus was that the “girl” hired a local gang (she later married the leader) and somehow lured him to the Crown Plaza hotel in Richmond,Va. where he was BEATEN and thrown out the top floor hall window, landing on his head on the hotels AC unit (too graphic to describe here) I was told at the funeral home by the director to NOT see him. Advice I am SO glad I heeded. (my imagination can never be as bad as the imprint forever burned into my mind of what he must have looked like …(I have to keep reminding myself that it only happened once…)
Three months of investigation went nowhere and then the cops were all called off his case to work a task force for a missing 17 y/o VCU student last seen in her dorm (2 blocks from our apt. in Richmond) who was later found in a county 80 miles away…and heres a coinky dink…she was murdered and found at Michael’s fiancée Christina’s aunt’s farm house in Middlesex county!!!!!!!!! VERY VERY eerie. That case made National news while Michael’s (forget the rug) got swept out of the building!
Michael’s murder investigation had many leads but eight months after we were told unless someone confessed or plead out to another charge, then it was looking slim that an arrest would be made….So…. Michael’ effects and EDC are all in a cold case file in the basement of the RPD.
Eight years later here I am. I still have hope for justice but we have had to keep moving forward as best we can. The rest of the story…My daughter lost her baby 2 months to the day of her little brothers murder and in 2008 her husband died of a heart attack at 29 – while she was 7 months pregnant with their fourth daughter!
Michael’s oldest sister also lost her husband to a fast spreading cancer in 2010 at age 47. We have lost both our son-in-laws since Mom and Michael were taken. My hubby and I have both been laid off from our jobs and now live in our daughter’s back yard in a camper…but thankfully we are NOT in Richmond anymore and we have each other. I have an amazing husband…ask anyone here who has met him. If I didn’t have Jesus, my family, the 2 fb POMC’s, H.U.G.S., H.O.P.E. and JUSTICE groups to share and HUG and help others…. my awesome bestie’s Lydia and Pat to HUG me and keep me above water…literally and Biblically speaking (they are my touchstones)! PTSD is NO JOKE!
With that all said, I do not know where I would be today. Like I said at the beginning…Sorry for the length of this post but other than close friends I have NEVER told the story before. It felt good to share…The police said to NEVER speak of the case but what the hey….come Hell or high water, nothing can ever change what happened. Michael isn’t coming back! It’s okay..I have joy now and will see him in a bit!