NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Police are saying a case in which a man’s body was found in a home’s crawl space is now considered a homicide.
Dispatchers received a call around 10 a.m. asking for assistance in the 800 block of 24th Street Saturday morning.
Police Chief Steve Drew said volunteers in a community group found the man’s body Saturday morning.
10 On Your Side spoke with David Wilson, a friend of 31-year-old Andre Grady, who police have identified as the man who died.
Wilson said Grady went missing Friday night, and he organized a search Saturday morning with friends and family.
They found Grady’s wheelchair tracks in the grass near the home on 24th Street, which led to Grady’s body.
“We all looked and that’s when we ended up seeing his feet and legs under there,” Wilson said.
He said Grady was known and loved by many in the community.
“I know from the amount of people that showed up to help us look for him. That says a lot about the kind of person that he was,” Wilson said.
In a news conference Monday evening, Drew said the case is now classified as a homicide. He did not go into specifics about cause of death, but said Grady’s injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma and there was no evidence of a gunshot wound.
The investigation remains ongoing.
Drew said he responded to the scene Saturday after getting the call about Grady’s body being found.
While there, police went into the residence where Grady was found and searched the house. Police confirmed the residence is vacant, and did not find anyone inside. The building was locked when Grady was found.
“We didn’t anticipate finding what we found,” said Wilson. “It happened so fast, it wasn’t like a drawn out search that took hours. It took 10 minutes.”
Drew said he has been in touch with Grady’s family multiple times since his body was found. The community group that searched for Grady has also been cooperative and shared videos and other information with police, he said.
Police are still working to uncover more evidence and differentiate what items found around the scene could belong to the victim, suspect or other people.
“I can tell you we have uncovered evidence, but there’s a lot more evidence I’d like to find,” Drew said.
Police have not made any arrests in the case, but have a list of “several” people they’re looking to talk to in connection with Grady’s death.
“We’ve got some good strong leads but there’s a lot of evidence we gotta get through,” Drew said.
Drew said he thinks the people who “did this act” knew Grady and who he was. The chief added police didn’t get any indication from the family that anyone had an issue with Grady, but are looking at two or three possible motives in the case.
A lot of officers also knew Grady and had built relationships with him, Drew said.
Drew cautioned against spreading misinformation or partial information on social media.
“My heart goes out to Mrs. Grady. She is very supportive of what we are doing,” Drew said. “She’s going through a hard time, as anyone would, right?”
Drew said people are calling police with tips and talking to them about the case. He also asked residents to continue coming forward with information. Any possible evidence should be given to police so the forensics team can process it.
“We’re gonna solve this case,” Drew said several times.
Wilson wants to honor Grady’s memory in a more permanent way: an alert named after him.
“There is no alert to protect defenseless adults,” said Wilson. “I really felt the need and I saw the need for something like that to be created. I wanted to call it the “Andre Alert” for people who are disabled or may have mental illnesses.”
This is a developing news story. Stay with WAVY.com for updates.