The body of a missing 19-year-old gay student at SUNY Broome Community College in New York was found dumped on railroad tracks in Brooklyn last week.
DeAndre Matthews, also known as Dre, was found Tuesday lying on freight train tracks in the Brooklyn area. Police say his body had a gunshot wound to the head and “significant burn wounds throughout his body.” A medical examiner also found Matthews had suffered from smoke inhalation prior to his death.
Members of Matthews’s family were left distraught by the murder and are demanding answers.
“Now, as a mother, I’m suffering. My daughter don’t have a big brother. My sister don’t have a nephew, my mother don’t have a grandson," mother Danielle Mathews told WCBS-TV.
“This is disgusting. Like, my brother didn’t do anything to nobody, and I can really say that,” sister Dajanae Gillespie told WCBS-TV. “He wasn’t in a gang. He wasn’t a violent kid. He wasn’t a bad kid. You know what I’m saying? He stayed in the house.”
Gillespie told WNBC her brother was gay and wondered if the murder might have been a hate crime.
“What was the reason?” Gillespie told local WNBC. “DeAndre wasn’t a violent person.”
According to family and police, Matthews left work at the Buggy Service Center in Crowne Heights last Monday, February 6, around 5 p.m. He'd just recently started working there. He stopped by his mother's residence to borrow her Jeep, and nobody saw him after that. When he didn’t respond to her attempts to reach him, Matthews was able to track the location of the burned-out Jeep.
Police were able to locate Matthews’s body a short time later.
Matthews studied criminal justice at SUNY Broome Community College. His friends remembered a warm and trusting person, and at least one friend speculated if Matthews might have been too trusting of others.
"He was just so nice to people,” Daviona Miley told WCBS-TV. “Just always too nice, and sometimes people could take that for granted.”