An 8-year-old boy was beaten to death while trying to stop a stranger from violently raping his 12-year-old sister in Richmond, and police say they believe the suspect may have threatened the young girl not to identify him afterward.
The incident happened along train tracks near the 200 block of Brandon Road. The aunt of the siblings told WTVR that the children were playing on the tracks when they came across a man who tried to rape the 12-year-old girl. Her 8-year-old brother tried to intervene, but was beaten to death by the man.
Family members said the man attacked the teen girl, sexually assaulting her and cutting her face. The younger brother tried to intervene, but the attacker threw a rock at the boy’s head, killing him instantly.
South Richmond police say they now have a teenage male being medically evaluated as part of a homicide investigation. It appears the person in custody may not be the suspect, however, and police said they have warrants for a teenage black male.
The details around the South Richmond rape are still hazy. The suspect was initially described as a white mail with scraggly hair, but police believe the true suspect may have threatened the 12-year-old victim not to identify him.
Police have not yet released the names of the juveniles.
The Richmond community has come together after the 8-year-old boy was beaten to death, with city and faith leaders gathering at the scene. A neighbor said the brother and sister were like “peas in a pod,” and were seen playing outside together from morning until night.
“This is a neighborhood that has been torn and stricken and actually destroyed,” said family friend Markeita Boyd. “My heart hurts tonight.”
Students at nearby Elizabeth D. Redd elementary school, where the children attended, have also mourned the death of the 8-year-old beaten to death saving his 12-year-old sister.
Edited: Apologies for certain confusions with the above article at the time of release. The original ages told to CBS 6 were 9 and 11, but the family corrected their statement.