‘Shattering a family’: Mother mourns son found dead at abandoned building

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 5:11 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re learning more about an Augusta murder victim found dead in an abandoned building on Meadowbrook Drive.

The Richmond County coroner tells us 30-year-old Willie Ankeny was shot at least once.

For Ankeny’s mother, it’s the third time she’s lost a child. Here’s how she’s coping with this loss and remembering her son.

His mother described him as a gentle soul and a loving person. They’re still searching for answers like many families in the CSRA.

She’s sending a desperate plea to the person who killed him.

Ankeny was the youngest of four.

“Willie was a kind-hearted person,” said Tara Ankeny, mother.

Tara says it’s not been easy for their family. Ten years ago, her other son was murdered, and recently her daughter died from lupus.

“They didn’t have to do that. They didn’t have to take my son from me,” she said.

Since the shooting, there’s been little information released.

“We just want answers. We just want answers,” she said.

Detectives with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office are working on the case. It’s Sergeant Lucas Heice’s 14th year with the homicide division.

“Almost taking them personal to a fact that we try to, you know, convey to the victim’s family that we want to do as much as we possibly can,” he said.

Then a homicide occurs, his team gets called to the scene. They start looking for witnesses and other evidence immediately.

“It’s tough when you know, that all you see is homicide. And probably the hardest part of my job is talking to the victims’ families,” he said. “I dread that every day.”

Detectives say they’ll do everything in their power to give families, like Ankeny’s closure.

“I hope whoever watching is and whoever did it turn yourself in. Because what you did, you shattering a family,” said Tara.

Detectives say all 37 homicides in 2022 were a result of gunfire. They say they have five cases that are unsolved, meaning they are waiting for a lead to develop.