Missing Teen Found Dead On Tracks Near Nostrand Ave

DeAndre Matthews' family are looking for answers regarding his death./CBS News

By Radwan Farraj

 

   A 19-year-old was found dead on the railroad tracks near Nostrand Avenue on Feb. 7,  after being reported missing from his Flatbush home. He was found with a gunshot wound to his head, severe burns on his body, and appeared to have suffered from smoke inhalation, according to the police.

   DeAndre “Dre” Matthews was last seen on Feb. 6 after leaving his job in Crown Heights and returning home to borrow his mother’s car for the evening. Matthews’ family reported him missing the following day when he did not return home. Police later found his mother’s vehicle burned on Troy Avenue several minutes away from where Matthews’ body was discovered.  

   “I’m a hurt mother. I have my daughter but that was my son, that was my best friend. He made me a mother,” said Danielle Matthews, the mother of DeAndre, in an interview with NBC New York. “You’re not gonna be able to sleep, I’m gonna make sure y’all know my son’s story. I’m gonna make sure DeAndre’s name is heard.”

   Dajanae Gillespie, the victim’s sister, spoke with NBC New York and voiced concerns over his sexuality being a potential motive for his murder. “What was the reason? DeAndre wasn’t a violent person. This wasn’t for retaliation. He wasn’t in the streets,” said Gillespie, who noted Matthews was gay and could have possibly been killed as a hate crime.

   With help from the NYC Anti-Violence Project, an anti-LGBTQ violence organization that helps to educate and provide counseling for victims of violence, a vigil, and service was held on Feb. 17 to honor Matthews’ memory. “We’re here to lift up the memory of DeAndre Matthews who was tragically killed earlier this month,” Catherine Shugrue dos Santos, Deputy Executive Director for Programs at AVP, told Fox 5 New York, “and to join with his loved ones and the community to lift up his life, celebrate him, make sure he’s not forgotten, to ask for more of an investigation of what happened to him.”

   Matthews was studying criminal justice at SUNY Broome Community College, and his family said that he wanted to be a social worker. A candlelight vigil was hosted by students at SUNY Broome to honor his memory on the evening of Feb. 15, according to SUNY Broome’s Office of Marketing and Communications. 

   The NYPD is still investigating the case and has ruled it as a homicide. The Vanguard reached out for comment but did not receive a response by press time.

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