Martin Cobb was an 8-year-old boy who neighbors said was inseparable from his 12-year-old sister, and this week Martin died trying to save his older sibling from a violent rapist.
The children were walking along a railroad track near their home in Richmond, Virginia, this week when they were confronted by a teen. Family members said the teen tried to rape the 12-year-old girl, but her brother Martin Cobb stepped in to try fighting off the attacker and saving his sister’s life.
Instead, the suspect threw a rock at Martin’s head, killing him instantly. His sister was able to escape the attack alive, though the suspect did cut her face and family members say she was raped.
Neighbors said Martin Cobb and his sister were like “peas in a pod,” and would be seen playing together often.
“This is a neighborhood that has been torn and stricken and actually destroyed,” said family friend Markeita Boyd. “My heart hurts tonight.”
A teenager has been arrested and charged with murder and strangulation. Richmond police have not identified the suspect because of his age, but did say the suspect was being “medically evaluated.”
Reports said the suspect threatened the 12-year-old girl not to identify him, and at first the girl told police her attacker was a white man with scraggly hair. But she later admitted that the man who killed her brother was in fact a black teenager.
“I’m proud of him,” said aunt Geraldine Pitchford, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I’m proud that he stuck up for his sister. He did what he was taught.”
A prayer vigil for Martin Cobb was scheduled for Saturday night.