Family Of Teen Who Was Set On Fire Holds Fundraiser To Find Killers

(CBS) — Put in a garbage can, burned beyond recognition – and he may not have even been the right target.

Polly Sykes puts it simply: She is destroyed, she says, by the murder of her son Demetrius Griffin.

“It hurts so bad that won’t nobody step forward,” she says.

The 15-year-old freshman — small for his age — walked a girlfriend home on Sept. 16. That friend told Sykes they parted ways just blocks from his South Austin home.

He never made it home. His body was later discovered, burning in an alley garbage can two blocks away. It took two days for police to make the connection and a month to officially identify the teen’s body.

He had been burned alive.

“If you can take someone with this simple soul and do this much harm to them, what would you do to other children?”

Police say the case is active but gone cold, which is why the family is holding a weekend fundraiser to increase the reward for information about his murder. It haunts his family every day.

“I need justice for my son,” says Sykes. “That’s the only way my process of healing will start.”

Demetrius’ family says he had no gang or drug ties and was always home by curfew. They wonder if he was killed as part of a gang initiation or because he wouldn’t join a gang – or if it was a case of mistaken identity.

Saturday’s fundraiser theme is “Breaking the Code of Silence.” The event will take place at New Mount Pilgrim M.B. Church, 4301 W. Washington, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

More from Dana Kozlov

More From CBS Chicago

News Via Email
Podcast Network
Free Weather App!

Listen Live