Police in Alabama are holding a “person of interest” in the death of bisexual teenager Nicholas Hawkins.
Hawkins, 19, of Dora, Ala., was found shot to death in a wooded area of Walker County, which includes Dora, Tuesday night, reports AL.com, a site for several Alabama newspapers. His mother had reported him missing Saturday night, saying Nicholas had called to tell her someone intended to kill him.
Early Tuesday, before Hawkins’s body was found, Joshua Adam Reese, 21, was arrested in nearby Jefferson County on an outstanding failure-to-appear warrant, according to AL.com. He was charged with attempted murder in an unrelated case in 2013 and is still awaiting trial.
Dora Police Chief Jared Hall told Birmingham TV station WTVM there was reason to consider Reese a “person of interest” in Hawkins’s case. “Nick Hawkins did name Joshua Adam Reese in the phone call to his mom, saying he was trying to kill him,” Hall said. Reese is being held in the Walker County Jail. He has not been charged in the Hawkins case, and there have been no public statements about a motive for Hawkins’s killing.
At a vigil Wednesday night, Hawkins’s friends and relatives shared memories of the teen, who, according to BuzzFeed, came out as bisexual during his high school years. He had left high school early because he was being bullied, but he was close to completing work for a GED and intended to become a cosmetologist, AL.com reports.
“I know anybody who met him knows the person that he was, the bubbly personality he had,” his older brother Jacob said at the vigil, AL.com reports. “Walk in and he just, I don’t want to say life of the party, but, you know, he stole the show. He definitely stole the show.” Losing him was like being in “a horror movie nightmare,” Jacob added.
Friend Ashley Parvin said she felt great anger over Hawkins’s death, according to the site. “When you learn something like that you can’t understand why someone would take such a beautiful life,” Parvin said.