Tearful Funeral For Murdered Miami Gardens Grandmother & Grandson
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MIAMI GARDENS (CBS4/The Miami Herald) – Family and friends remembered a grandmother and her grandson at a tearful funeral service at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens, Saturday.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reported at the height of the service, the pastor made an announcement that the person had been caught.
“I’ve just been notified — they caught the person,” announced Pastor Virgil Walker, interrupting his eulogy the paper reported.
The mourners cheered.
However, the announcement was not accurate. Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert whispered to the pastor a different message.
“They didn’t apprehend them yet, but they know who they are,” declared Walker, a relative of the deceased. More muted cheers ensued according to the paper.
The mourners have been waiting for news on the case where Rev. Annette O. Anderson, 70, and her grandson Tyrone Lenard Walker, Jr., 20, were found bound, gagged and shot “execution style” in her home on July 16.
Despite the announcement, the paper reported that authorities have not named or detained any suspects, according to Miami Gardens Police Detective Michael Wright.
“It’s a very trying time for the family, and I don’t know why they would say that. I’m not a psychologist,” Wright said to the paper. “What we’re doing is monitoring this case very closely.”
Police have, however, received numerous leads. They have not confirmed whether there were signs of forced entry or robbery.
At Saturday’s funeral, the paper reported attendees wiped away tears with handkerchiefs even before the service started.
One white and one baby blue casket were brought in from hearses drawn by white horses. A photo slideshow of grandmother and grandson at various ages beamed from the wall.
Mayor Gilbert, who said Anderson was an “old friend,” spoke on behalf of the city.
“My heart is broken too,” he said. “She was an inspiration to our community and left an indelible mark on the city. We will not remember her by how she was taken; we will remember her by how she lived,” the paper reported.
All five of Miami Gardens’ city council members were at the funeral along with representatives from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and the North County Citizen’s Association, where Anderson was former secretary.
Anderson was ordained as a minister at Jesus People Ministries Church International in Miami Gardens about a decade ago. For the past two years, she hosted Bible study in her home every Tuesday and was assistant pastor at Breakthrough Deliverance and Healing Prayer Ministries. As head of the group’s Community Action Committee, she was concerned about addressing escalating crime in the neighborhood.
“She was such a quiet, humble person,” said head pastor Dr. E. Gail Brown to the paper, who first met Anderson more than 20 years ago. “It’s just so devastating to know someone would do that to a person so innocent.”
When Anderson missed the regular walks last Sunday and Monday, one of her elderly friends called the police, Walker said.
Anderson was very close to the grandson who came to live with her three months ago, according to Brown. Known as “TJ,” he moved to Miami from Jacksonville to study electrical engineering at ITT Technical Institute. He paid the bills by working as a cook at Burger King and went to church with his grandmother every Sunday.
“He wasn’t the kid that partied and did that kind of stuff. He was kind, sweet, helpful,” said his aunt, Anita Walker Thomas to the paper.
In the journal Walker kept through his childhood and teenage years, he noted that he wanted to look back in 10 years and see the difference he’d made. One of the three people who inspired him most, he wrote, was his grandmother the paper reported.
Walker had three teenaged sisters, whom his parents had adopted as little girls. His mother, Carolyn Walker — Anderson’s daughter — is a registered nurse in Jacksonville, and his father is a retired U.S. Army Ranger. Anderson also had a son, Willie Harris, Jr.
“We’re going to miss her, but we know where she is,” said Anderson’s friend Ernestine Fox when she addressed those assembled. “She’s all right.”
“She is,” they murmured. “She is.”
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)